The 25-year-old Pietro Mascagni sent to the jury his brand-new piece Cavalleria rusticana. The premiere of the opera, in 1890 in Rome, was a resounding success, which would secure him global fame. Ruggero Leoncavallo, six years older than Mascagni, wrote his debut opera, Pagliacci, in the verismo spirit too. Its premiere, in 1892 in Milan, earned the virtually unknown composer great acclaim. In 1893, Rome saw Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci performed as a double bill, which has ever since been customary worldwide. Pagliacci depicts the tragedy of Canio, an ageing principal of a travelling troupe who, driven out of his mind with jealousy, kills his unfaithful young wife Nedda and her lover on stage during a performance. In Cavalleria rusticana, the frivolous Lola begins an adulterous affair with her former lover Turridu, who, in line with the age-long Sicilian vendetta tradition, is murdered by Lola’s husband. The two operas end identically – with a homicide motivated by jealousy.