Pagliacci is Ruggero Leoncavallo’s most famous opera. Composed in 1892, this verismo work tells the story of Canio, the head of a travelling theatre company who, blinded by jealousy, exacts a cruel revenge on his unfaithful wife, Nedda.
Honour, revenge and jealousy: these are the main themes of Pagliacci.
This short work, composed in 1892 by Ruggero Leoncavallo, is part of the repertoire of the most famous verismo operas.
The originality of the piece lies in its combination of unparalleled dramatic violence and its significant use of the “theatre within theatre” technique. Based on a true-life incident, the opera tells the story of Canio and his wife Nedda, two itinerant actors who are performing the drama of Arlecchino and Colombina for a village audience in Calabria, until the real world brutally intervenes and the performance suddenly descends into the horror of murder. In his Harlequin costume, Canio, the deceived husband who is mad with jealousy, kills his wife Nedda, who is playing Colombina, and her lover Silvio as he tries to come to her aid. “La commedia è finita!” concludes the murderous husband in response to the audience’s screams of horror as they suddenly realise that the red blood they see flowing before them is in fact real and that the actors were not “pretending”.
Jānis Liepiņš conducts the Latvian National Opera Orchestra in a production directed by Aik Karapetian.
Sergey Polyakov and Tatiana Trenogina interpret the roles of Canio and Nedda, and Vladislav Sumlinsky plays Tonio.