Leoncavallo’s audience favorite tells of a love, heartbreak, betrayal, and clowns! Pagliacci chronicles the behind-the-scenes fallout among a traveling troupe of clowns in Southern Italy. Based on a real-life love triangle known to Leoncavallo, the opera is regarded for the searing aria Vesti la giubba (Put on the Costume), which is sung by Canio as he prepares for the final performance in which he will confront his wife, Nedda, who is secretly involved with Silvio, a young villager.
Opera in two acts
Music and libretto by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Premiered 1892 in Milan
Sung in Italian with English titles
Run time is one hour, 15 minutes
Born in Mexico City, Diego Torre was a Domingo-Thornton Young Artist at Los Angeles Opera, where he made his company debut as Don José in performances of Carmen. In his debut season with Wolf Trap Opera Company, Diego sang Conte Ivrea in Verdi's Un giorno di regno, Captain in Candide, Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos and Rodolfo in La bohème.
Recently, Diego Torre sang Rodolfo (Luisa Miller), the title role in Don Carlo, Cavaradossi (Tosca), Gabriele Adorno (Simon Boccanegra) and Rodolfo (La bohéme) for Opera Australia. He also sag Cavaradossi in China, Calaf (Turandot) in Oslo and Corrado (Il corsaro) in Parma.
Mark Delavan, a singer of “incisive vocal power and fierce theatrical acuity,” is sought after throughout the United States and Europe for the most demanding roles in his operatic repertoire. He regularly appears in the title roles of Der fliegende Holländer, Falstaff, and Rigoletto, and as Iago in Otello, Scarpia in Tosca, Jochanaan in Salome, and Amonasro in Aida.In addition, as a strong character actor on stages throughout the country, he has proved himself a crossover artist of immense skill. Most recently, Delavan starred as Phil Arkin in Milk and Honey with York Theatre Company, to critical acclaim. Of his performance, critics hailed his “rich, resonant voice,” with “impressively clear high notes.” This season, Delavan will return to The Metropolitan Opera for productions of La Fanciulla del West and Falstaff. He will also perform in a concert performance of La Fanciulla del West as Jack Rance in the Inaugural Season of Maryland Lyric Opera and will reprise the title role of Falstaff with Dallas Opera. Future seasons see performances of Amfortas in Parsifal, Telramund in Lohengrin, Jochanaan in Salome, and Alfio/Tonio in Cavalleria rusticana/I Pagliacci.
Born in Princeton, New Jersey, Mr. Delavan earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Oral Roberts University. He was a national finalist of the Metropolitan Opera auditions and an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera.
Italian-American soprano Marina Costa-Jackson is "dramatically and musically alluring…notable for her burnished timbre and subtle phrasing (The New York Times). Opéra national de Paris, Seattle Opera, Oper Köln, Grange Park Opera, LA Opera, Washington Concert Opera, and Michigan Opera Theatre have engaged her for the 2019-2020 Season.
American baritone Chris Kenney, whose voice was called “lush” by Broadway World, is a 1st year member of the Ryan Opera Center ensemble at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In the 2018-2019 season in Chicago, he will appear as the Master of Ceremonies in Cendrillon and the Marquis d’Obigny in La traviata. He will also understudy Schaunard in La bohème and the King in Cendrillon. Orchestral debuts include the Guide in Bernstein’s Wonderful Town with Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony, and Bob or the Thief in The Old Maid and the Thief with the Grant Park Music Festival. He will also present a series of songs with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I.
In the 2017-2018 season, Chris Kenney was a member of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. While there, he performed Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the Businessman in The Little Prince, Pa Zegner in the world-premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up, and the Officer, also in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for WNO’s main-stage season at the Kennedy Center. Additionally, he was a featured soloist in Bernstein’s Songfest with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Slatkin.
A native of Hawley, Minnesota, Chris Kenney is a three-time winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions and winner of the 2014 Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition. He completed his undergraduate work at Concordia College, received his master’s at the University of Kentucky, and did post-graduate work at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts.
Described as “brilliant” by Opera News, tenor Matthew DiBattista has performed on both the operatic and concert stage with such conductors as James Conlon, Seiji Ozawa, Keith Lockhart, and Robert Shaw in the United States, Italy, France, and Portugal. He sings the title role in Kamran Ince’s Judgment of Midas, newly released on Albany Records.
Born in Venice, Renato Balsadonna first worked as a repetiteur at La Fenice in Venice, and Teatro Verdi in Trieste. He later assisted Norbert Balatsch at the Bayreuth Festival. Recognised for his considerable gifts as an orchestral conductor, Balsadonna conducted a number of main stage productions at The Royal Opera House, including I due Foscari, The Minotaur and Nabucco.
Away from The Royal Opera House, Balsadonna has had successful collaborations with numerous opera houses and orchestras as a guest conductor, including Don Quichotte for Grange Park Opera (2014). He has developed also strong relationships with: Frankfurt Opera (Don Carlo, Lucia di Lammermoor), The Grant Park Festival Chicago, BBC Singers and BBC Concert Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Choir, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Chorus, Teatro Verdi Trieste (La Bohème), Opera de Nice (Norma), Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London (Madama Butterfly), Mariinsky Theatre in St.Petersburg (Nabucco, Lucrezia Borgia) Cincinnati Opera (La Traviata) Teatro La Fenice,Venice (Madama Butterfly) Teatro de La Maestranza, Seville (Lucia di Lammermoor) Teatro Filarmonico,Verona (Don Giovanni) Teatro Regio, Turin (La Sonnambula)
His upcoming and recent engagements include performances at the Mariinsky Theatre, La Bohème for Opera North in Leeds, Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Cincinnati Opera, as well as various concerts in Europe and the US.
Maestro Balsadonna has further participated in numerous recordings for EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Classics, Opera Rara and Chandos.
Elaine Tyler-Hall started her career as a dancer, and then worked as a dance teacher, choreographer and Benesh Movement notator, and she continues to enjoy the opportunity to choreograph when she can. She has worked on a numerous TV productions and films, including Shakespeare in Love.
As assistant director and staff director she has worked for many opera companies: ROH, ENO, Scottish Opera, WNO, Glyndebourne, BayerischesStaatsoper Munich, Opernhaus Zurich, and the Kammeroper Vienna.
Elaine’s work has taken her all over the world reviving old and directing new opera productions. As well as her freelance work, she is currently a full-time staff director for English National Opera.
A company of touring actors arrives. The head of the troupe, Canio, announces that the performance will begin at the “23rd hour,” that is, one hour before sunset. When a person in the crowd jokingly suggests that Tonio, a fellow actor, is courting Canio’s wife, Nedda, behind his back, Canio angrily warns the crowd that the joke isn’t funny. Canio goes off to Mamma Lucia’s bar to enjoy a drink. People gather in church, leaving Nedda alone with her thoughts.
While Silvio sets the tables, Nedda expresses her dream to be free as soaring birds, sweetly provoking her young lover. Soon afterward, Tonio, who has witnessed Nedda’s reverie, declares his passion for her, but, when Nedda mocks him, he tries to force himself on her. She manages to strike him. Silvio arrives and urges Nedda to flee with him. Tonio spies on the lovers and reports the tryst to Canio. A chase ensues, but Silvio manages to escape before Canio can recognize him. Tonio advises Canio to wait until evening for vengeance. Alone, Canio laments his lot as an actor: he must laugh through his tears for the audience’s amusement. Mamma Lucia, who has witnessed his despair, consoles him with a drink.
The villagers assemble to see the play. Taking advantage of the commotion, Nedda exchanges a few words with Silvio, assuring him of their midnight elopement. The commedia, based on the familiar tale of Pagliaccio and Colombina, begins. In the absence of her husband Pagliaccio (played by Canio), Colombina (Nedda) is serenaded by her lover, Arlecchino (Beppe). Together they drive away her servant, the buffoon Taddeo (Tonio), and plot to poison Pagliaccio, whose sudden return interrupts their flirting. After Arlecchino has escaped, Taddeo, with pointed malice, assures Pagliaccio of his wife’s “innocence.” Obsessed with jealousy, Canio forgets he is onstage and demands that Nedda name her lover. She tries desperately to continue the comedy, but the audience begins to comprehend the reality of the situation. Maddened by her continued defiance, Canio first stabs Nedda and then Silvio, who has rushed forward to help her. In absolute despair, Lucia cries, “La commedia è finita.” (“The comedy is over.”)
-Courtesy San Francisco Opera
This production is additionally supported by the J. Earnest & Almena Grey Wilde Fund