Alex James's Date Night - Saturday 16 May 2015, 5pm

Join Alex as he journeys through all the most important dates in the classical music world over the week ahead.

Tonight's highlights include the premiere of the one act opera Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni (pictured) in May 1890. Despite being performed to a half empty house, the audience included the most important music critics in Italy, as well Queen Margherita, a great music lover. It was a thundering success from its opening notes. Mascagni - who'd entered the work in an opera competition - took 40 curtain calls and won the First Prize.

The 120 anniversary of the birth of the composer Franz von Suppé is also celebrated tonight, and Alex turns the spotlight on a rather important letter that Ralph Vaughan Williams received from Her Majesty The Queen on 17 May 1935.