From the YouTube Music Video Archives: Pagliacci

Seattle Opera is in the middle of the season’s run of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s first (and only frequently performed) opera, Pagliacci. The first cast features Antonello Palombi as Canio and Nuccia Focile as Nedda; the second cast (Friday and Sunday performances) has John Uhlenhopp and Eva Battori. It’s a great production, set in the fifties and featuring an acrobatic dream sequence as a prelude to the second act.

Pagliacci was first performed at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan on May 21, 1892, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Leoncavallo went on to write almost twenty more operas, but with none of them was he able to achieve the success he had with the first.

A few choice performances available on YouTube include Robert Merill singing the Prologue, Giuseppe Di Stefano (who Pavarotti admired greatly) singing Vesti La Giubba, Pavarotti himself singing the same, Placido Domingo, Mario del Monaco, and a younger del Monaco.

Here also is del Monaco performing No, pagliaccio non son and Un grande spettacolo, and finally the finale of all finali. See the Seattle production if you can; Antonello Palombi’s performance belongs with these.

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