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' Pagliacci '


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by Leoncavallo
Performed by soloists and members of the Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala,
The complete Opera on Gramophone
The opera opens with Tonio, the clown, appearing before the curtain, singing a prologue reminding the audience that actors have hearts and experience the same joys and sorrows that other people do. The curtain then rises on a village scene and the entry of a band of strolling players, with Canio and his wife Nedda at the head of it. When the tumult has subsided, Nedda is left alone. She sings of her girlhood when she was free as the birds above her. Tonio joins her, makes unsuccessful love to her, and comes away with a flea in his ear. Then her real lover, Silvio, comes in and suggests she should run away with him. Tonio overhears and fetches Canio, who is heartbroken at discovering his wife's infidelity ; it is here that he sings the famous ' On with the Motley '.
Act 2 is the scene of the little play that the strolling players give before the villagers. By a coincidence, the play almost faithfully" represents what has been happening in the case of Canio and his wife. This fact so works upon the disturbed mind of Canio that he mortally stabs Nedda, and Silvio, who runs to her assistance. The play ends with Canio's despairing cry, ' The comedy is ended '.


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This site contains the BBC listings information which the BBC printed in Radio Times between 1923 and 2009. You can search the site for BBC programmes, people, dates and Radio Times editions.

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Feedback about ' Pagliacci ', Regional Programme Northern Ireland, 19.00, 29 June 1935
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