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Opera

I Pagliacci

Approximate running time

PAGGLIACI, A ROMANTIC ITALIAN OPERA

This Italian opera is composed of two acts and features music by Ruggero Leoncavallo. It is the only Leoncavallo opera that is still performed widely today. It premiered in Milan in 1892 and later that year it was first performed in the United Kingdom in London.

Leoncavallo claims that the plot of the opera is based on an incident that occurred during his own childhood, when one of the family servants was murdered in 1865. This murder was the result of a series of romantic entanglements involving a girl that two brothers were both infatuated with. When it was first written there were several allegations that the opera resembled other plays. However, it soon gained popularity.

The plot is a series of romantic entanglements, accusations, declarations and secrecy. It is both a comedy and a tragedy. Paggliaci became the first opera to be fully recorded in 1907. Later, in 1931, it also became the first opera to be completely filmed with sound.

It has been performed around the world and continues to be enjoyed today.

HISTORY

The opera is set in Calabria, near Montalto in southern Italy, on the Feast of the Assumption. It takes place between 1865 and 1870.

Act 1

The commedia troupe enter the village at 3pm and are met by cheering villagers who await the play. Canio says the play will begin an hour before sunset. Nedda steps from the cart and Tonio offers his hand but Canio pushes it away to help his wife down himself. Cannio and Beppe have a drink with the villagers who tease Canio that Tonio is planning an affair with his wife. Tonio declares his love for Nedda who then drives him away. Silvio and Nedda decide to elope, but Tonio tells Canio who arrives and chases Silvio. Nedda shouts after her lover 'I will always be yours' but refuses to reveal his name.

Act 2

The play begins and the plot mirrors the love triangle and affairs. Canio hears Nedda's character say 'I will always be yours' and demands she tell him her lover's name. Nedda tries to keep in character and the audience initially think it's all part of the performance. Nedda refuses to reveal the name of her lover and Canio stabs her. As she cries out Silvio's name, Canio stabs him too.

The final line of the opera is 'La Commedie e finita! - The comedy is ended!'

MAIN ROLES

Canio, head of the troupe, tenor
Nedda, Canio's wife who is in love with Silvio, soprano
Tonio, the fool, baritone
Beppe, actor, tenor
Silvio, Nedda's lover, baritone

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The Guide
2017-2018

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  • International Agency Your ticket for an unforgettable evening around the world
  • Ticketing Agency Classical music and Opera specialist for over 20 years
  • +48.000 spectacles Operas, Concerts and ballets in prestigious Venues
  • Advice Music specialists can help you make the best choice, call us at +33 1 53 59 39 29