Opera Scotland

Pagliacci Clowns; Strolling Players

Tours by decade

1890s - 8 tours

1893 - Royal Italian Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1893 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1894 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1895 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1896 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1897 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1898 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1899 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1900s - 5 tours

1905 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1907 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1908 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1909 - Moody-Manners Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1909 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1910s - 12 tours

1910 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1910 - Castellano Grand Italian Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1911 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1912 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1913 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1915 - O'Mara Grand Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1915 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1916 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1917 - O'Mara Grand Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1917 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1918 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1919 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1920s - 19 tours

1920 - O'Mara Grand Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1920 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1921 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1922 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1922 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1923 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1923 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1924 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1924 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1925 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1925 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1926 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1927 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1927 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1928 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1928 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1929 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1929 - Edinburgh Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1930s - 6 tours

1930 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1934 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1937 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1938 - Universal Grand Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1938 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1939 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1940s - 6 tours

1940 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1944 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1945 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1946 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1947 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1949 - Dundee Operatic Society
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1950s - 11 tours

1950 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1951 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1952 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1954 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1955 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1955 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1956 - Italian Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1956 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1957 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1957 - Dundee Operatic Society
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1958 - Touring Opera 58
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1960s - 1 tour

1963 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1970s - 2 tours

1972 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1973 - Tayside Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1980s - 2 tours

1980 - Edinburgh Grand Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1990s - 3 tours

1991 - Glasgow Grand Opera Society
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1996 - Tayside Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1999 - Edinburgh Grand Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2000s - 2 tours

2007 - Haddo House Choral & Operatic Society
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2009 - Opera Camerata
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2010s - 4 tours

2012 - Scottish Opera
Concert performance
2013 - Fife Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2014 - Festival Euro Mediterraneo
Cinema Screening
2018 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

Tours by location

Scotland, UK - 176 entries

1893 - Royal Italian Opera Company
Edinburgh
1893 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1893 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1894 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1895 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1895 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1896 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1896 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1897 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1897 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1898 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1898 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1899 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1899 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Dundee
1905 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1907 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1908 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1908 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Greenock
1908 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1909 - Moody-Manners Opera Company
Edinburgh
1909 - Moody-Manners Opera Company
Aberdeen
1909 - Moody-Manners Opera Company
Dundee
1909 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1909 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1910 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1910 - Castellano Grand Italian Opera
Aberdeen
1910 - Castellano Grand Italian Opera
Dundee
1911 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1911 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1912 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Dundee
1912 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1912 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1913 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1913 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1915 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1915 - O'Mara Grand Opera Company
Dundee
1915 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1916 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1916 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1917 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1917 - O'Mara Grand Opera Company
Dundee
1918 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1918 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1919 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1919 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1920 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1920 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1920 - O'Mara Grand Opera Company
Aberdeen
1920 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1921 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1921 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1922 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Perth
1922 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Dundee
1922 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1922 - British National Opera Company
Edinburgh
1922 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1922 - British National Opera Company
Glasgow
1923 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Greenock
1923 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1923 - British National Opera Company
Edinburgh
1923 - British National Opera Company
Glasgow
1924 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1924 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1924 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1924 - British National Opera Company
Glasgow
1925 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1925 - British National Opera Company
Glasgow
1925 - British National Opera Company
Edinburgh
1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Dundee
1926 - British National Opera Company
Edinburgh
1927 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1927 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1927 - British National Opera Company
Glasgow
1927 - British National Opera Company
Edinburgh
1928 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1928 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Dundee
1928 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1928 - British National Opera Company
Aberdeen
1929 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1929 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1929 - Edinburgh Opera Company
Edinburgh
1930 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1934 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1934 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1937 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1937 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1938 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1939 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1939 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1940 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1940 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1944 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1944 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1944 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1945 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1945 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1945 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1946 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1946 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1946 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1947 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1947 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1949 - Dundee Operatic Society
Dundee
1950 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1950 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1951 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1951 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1952 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1952 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1954 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1954 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1954 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1955 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1955 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Dundee
1955 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Glasgow
1956 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1956 - Italian Opera Company
Glasgow
1956 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Dundee
1956 - Italian Opera Company
Edinburgh
1957 - Dundee Operatic Society
Dundee
1957 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1958 - Touring Opera 58
Glasgow
1958 - Touring Opera 58
Aberdeen
1963 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1963 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Aberdeen
1963 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1972 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1973 - Tayside Opera
Dundee
1980 - Edinburgh Grand Opera
Edinburgh
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Glasgow
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Edinburgh
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Ayr
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Falkirk
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Galashiels
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Pitlochry
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Campbeltown
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Beith
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Arran
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Ballachulish, Argyll
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
North Connel, Argyll
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Tobermory
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Acharacle
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Armadale, Isle of Skye
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Dunvegan, Isle of Skye
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Kinlochewe, Ross-shire
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Lochcarron, Ross-shire
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Ullapool
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Lochinver
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Lairg, Sutherland
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Kirkwall, Orkney
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Cromarty
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Kingussie
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Poolewe
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Kyle of Lochalsh
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Fort Augustus
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Aboyne, Aberdeenshire
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Helensburgh
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Peebles
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Paisley
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Dumfries
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Fort William
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Dundee
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Ellon, Aberdeenshire
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Brora
1989 - Scottish Opera-Go-Round
Thurso, Caithness
1991 - Glasgow Grand Opera Society
Glasgow
1996 - Tayside Opera
Dundee
1999 - Edinburgh Grand Opera
Edinburgh
2007 - Haddo House Choral & Operatic Society
Ellon, Aberdeenshire
2009 - Opera Camerata
Edinburgh
2012 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2013 - Fife Opera
Kirkcaldy
2014 - Festival Euro Mediterraneo
Edinburgh
2018 - Scottish Opera
Paisley

Music
Ruggero Leoncavallo (born Naples, 23 April 1857; died Montecatini, 9 August 1919)

Text
The composer.

Source
Original.

Premieres
First performance: Milan (Teatro Dal Verme), 21 May 1892.
First UK performance: London (Covent Garden), 19 May 1893.
First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Royal Lyceum Theatre) 11 September 1893.
Scottish Opera premiere: Glasgow (New Athenaeum Theatre), 26 August 1989.

Background
Pagliacci arrived in 1892 almost as if in answer to the prayers of operatic managers the world over. They had struggled to find a piece to pair with Mascagni’s wildly successful Cavalleria Rusticana. Not only does Pagliacci work well in tandem, many consider it to be the better piece, more subtle in plot and interesting in orchestration. Like Mascagni, Leoncavallo laboured for the rest of his career to produce another work with any comparable success.

Main Characters
Tonio a clown, Taddeo in the play (baritone)
Canio, manager of a troupe of players, Pagliaccio in the play (tenor)
Nedda, his wife, Columbine in the play (soprano)
Beppe, a clown, Harlequin in the play (tenor)
Silvio, a villager (baritone)

Plot Summary
The opera starts with a prologue in which Tonio, not yet in character, sums up the contrasts of stage life, while the orchestra introduces themes that will be heard later. The main setting is a Calabrian village during a feast day, when the villagers start by greeting the arrival of a troupe of strolling players, led by Canio. He is perpetually jealous of anyone he might suspect of attempting to flirt with his wife. Tonio is bitter at his constant rejection by Nedda and swears to gain revenge. Meanwhile, Nedda is in fact embroiled in an affair with Silvio, a villager, and hopes to run off with him that night. Tonio overhears their discussion and fetches Canio from the inn, and they arrive just too late to catch Silvio. Tonio and Beppe restrain Canio from killing Nedda then and there, and they persuade him to look out for her lover at the play that evening. Tonio and Beppe go to prepare for the performance while Canio reflects on his heartbroken state.

As the villagers assemble, Nedda collects their money and warns Silvio of danger. The play starts: Columbine’s husband, Pagliaccio, is away and the servant Taddeo at market. She awaits her lover Harlequin, who serenades her. Taddeo returns, but is kicked out of the house by Harlequin. He soon returns to announce that Pagliaccio is coming – Harlequin escapes. As Canio comes on, he is upset by the similarity of play to real life, and is unable to continue in character. He demands the truth from Nedda, who tries to continue the play, but she and the audience become increasingly uneasy until at last Canio stabs her. As she dies, Silvio comes from the audience, and Canio stabs him too.

RECORDINGS

DECCA (1 CD) Sung in Italian Recorded 1999
Conductor: Riccardo Chailly
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Barbara Frittoli (Nedda), José Cura (Canio), Carlos Alvarez (Tonio)

This is not perhaps the area of repertoire with which we associate this great Dutch orchestra, but Chailly gets them playing like red-blooded Italians and the performance takes flight right from the start. It is also a relief to recommend singers of slightly more recent vintage than the classics below. Frittoli sounds lovely and her duet with Simon Keenlyside’s excellent Silvio goes well. José Cura gives a subtle account of Canio, and Carlos Alvarez, not yet so well known on record, is good, perhaps too young sounding as Tonio. In the part of Beppe, Charles Castronovo makes a good impression.

EMI, NAXOS, etc (1 CD or 2 CDs incl Cavalleria) Sung in Italian Recorded 1953

Conductor: Tullio Serafin.
Orchestra of La Scala Milan
Maria Callas (Nedda), Giuseppe di Stefano (Canio), Tito Gobbi (Tonio).

Callas was vocally at her best around this time, and the great Tosca set with this trio also dates from 1953. Gobbi is a superbly insinuating Tonio. Perhaps Di Stefano sounds too young for Canio, but he does get a nice edge of hysteria into the voice. The small roles are well done by Nicola Monti and Rolando Panerai.

DG (1 CD) Sung in Italian Recorded 1965

Conductor: Herbert von Karajan. Orchestra of La Scala Milan Joan Carlyle (Nedda), Carlo Bergonzi (Canio), Giuseppe Taddei (Tonio).

This set is still hard to beat, with Karajan bringing out all the required tension, backed up by Bergonzi in superb voice. Giuseppe Taddei uses a well-schooled technique and a natural instinct for the drama to make a formidable Tonio. The Welsh soprano Joan Carlyle did not record much, but she is every bit as good as her companions. Beppe and Silvio are well taken by Ugo Benelli and Rolando Panerai.

DIVINE ART (2CDs incl Cavalleria) Sung in English Recorded 1927

Conductor: Eugene Goossens. Orchestra of BNOC Miriam Licette (Nedda), Frank Mullings (Canio), Harold Williams (Tonio).

As with the companion Cavalleria, this is a fascinating example of vintage opera performance. The British National Opera Company operated from 1922 to 1929, playing in London as well as touring the country. They visited all four Scottish cities, with a repertoire that included large-scale Wagner and Verdi pieces and some quite unusual repertoire. At their best, the standard of performance was high. Miriam Licette trained in Italy and enjoyed a long career, starting to sing major roles in her late teens (before the First World War). Mullings' voice is not a lovely sound, but his performance is dramatically acted. Harold Williams perhaps sings too beautifully for Tonio. The small roles are excellently done by well-remembered stars of the company – Dennis Noble as Silvio and Heddle Nash as Beppe. This excellent conductor was the father of composer/conductor Eugene, oboist Leon, and harpists Marie and Sidonie – a multi-talented dynasty.

The Cast

Beppe
 a player
Canio
 leader of the players
First Villager
 
Nedda
 Canio's wife
Second Villager
 
Silvio
 a villager
Tonio
 a player

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