.

Ruggero Leoncavallo

Pagliacci

opera in two acts

Age 16+

Dates

Libretto: Ruggero Leoncavallo
Musical director: Honoured Artist of Ukraine Viktor Ploskina
Production, sets and lighting design concept: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal Mikhail Pandzhavidze
Chorus master: People's Artist of Belarus, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Nina Lomanovich
Choreography: Olga Kostel
Conductors: Ivan Kostyakhin, Aleh Lessoun, recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal Andrei Galanov
Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes with one interval
Sung in Italian with Russian surtitles
Premiere: 12 December 2014

16

Synopsis

PROLOG
Tonio appears before the curtains and sets out the idea of the upcoming performance: “The author took his inspiration from the truth. A nest of memories was singing one day in the depth of his soul, and he wrote with real tears, and his sobs beat time for him!” exclaims Tonio. “Consider our souls, rather than our poor costumes, since we are men of flesh and blood, and that we breathe the air of this orphan world just like you!”

ACT 1
Famous artists Canio, his wife Nedda, Tonio and Beppe arrive at the theatre. The star of the stage Canio invites everybody to the evening performance. When he notices Tonio beside Nedda, he chases him away: nobody can claim the property of the gorgeous Canio. It will turn out badly, if someone falls in love with his wife, he declaims to her admirers around. 
Nedda is concerned about the jealous scene made by her husband, she doesn’t love him anymore. Fame and brilliance that conceal the disorder of her life have lost their appeal to her, she needs peace and happiness.

Tonio passionately declares his love: at first she laughs at him, than she dampens his enthusiasm by the whip. Tonio swears to take revenge upon the arrogant wench.
Suddenly Nedda meets Silvio. They were acquainted; perhaps, some feeling grew up between them. After a passionate declaration they decide to meet at night.
Canio appears, when Nedda and Silvio pronounce the last words concerning their appointment. Silvio manages to escape unrecognized. In a bout of jealousy Canio demands Nedda to tell the name of her lover, and when she refuses vehemently, intends to kill her. The actors save Nedda and remind that the performance begins soon. Tonio persuades Canio to contain himself and warrants him that the lover will return and betray himself. 
Everybody goes separate ways to get ready for the performance. Canio remains alone. His heart is broken, but the audience is looking forward to the performance. “Come on! Are you a man? You are a clown! And if Arlecchino shall steal your Colombina, laugh, clown… and everyone will cheer! Laugh, clown, at your broken love! Laugh at the grief that poisons your heart!” cries Canio.

ACT 2
The performance begins. Taddeo-Tonio interrupts the stage rendezvous of Colombina-Nedda with Arlecchino-Beppe and declares his love to her, as in real life. But she refuses in comedy as well. Taddeo blesses the lovers and starts guarding the doors, while Arlecchino and Colombina have a moment alone with each other. The lovers are cooing tenderly, but suddenly the frightened Taddeo breaks the news that Colombina’s husband, Pagliaccio-Canio has returned!

Arlecchino disappears immediately, but Pagliaccio hears their last words concerning the meeting. Overwhelmed by his grief, Canio fluffs his lines and demands to tell him the name of the lover and exclaims: “No, I am not a clown!”.Theaudiencecheersvigorouslyhissincereplaying.

Nedda tries to save the performance, while she pronounces the lines and refuses to say the name of her (Colombina’s) lover (Arlecchino). Canio goes out of mind and kills Nedda. Dying, she calls Silvio for help. When Canio sees his rival, he kills him, turns to the audience and says: “The comedy is over!”

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