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O'Reilly Theatre, National Opera House


€25 – €50


Approx. running time: 60 minutes

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Opera in a prologue and two acts by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Libretto by Ruggero Leoncavallo

Semi-staged opera
Sung in Italian with English surtitles

First performance
Teatro Dal Verme, Milan, Italy, 1892


It’s easy from this distance to overlook the fact that Pagliacci was one of the earliest operas (along with Carmen and, of course, its fellow Cavalleria rusticana) to ennoblethe feelings and emotions of their lowborn characters. But Pagliacci stands out especially for doing so while also making extremely sophisticated musical anddramatic points about theatrical illusion and reality.


CanioSamuel White

Creative Team

ConductorEmanuele Quaranta

The Plot

Pagliacci is a dramatic tale of love and betrayal centred around a commedia dell’arte troupe. Canio and Nedda are married, and Nedda has a secret affair with Silvio. Fearing Canio’s jealous anger, Nedda hides the entanglement and even attempts to break it off with Silvio. Yet, their love is strong, and they plan to run away together.

Tonio, also in love with Nedda, admits his love for her, but she turns him away, humiliating him. In an act of revenge, Tonio tells Canio that Nedda is having an affair, as he suspected. During a performance, Canio confronts Nedda and stabs her. Silvio attempts to save Nedda, running up on stage but is also stabbed by Canio. The audience, not realising the reality in front of them, claps until Canio screams, “the comedy is ended.”

Dates and times

Thursday 24 Oct3pm 3pm Book
Saturday 26 Oct3pm 3pm Book
Tuesday 29 Oct11am 11am Book
Wednesday 30 Oct7:30pm 7:30pm Book
Friday 1 Nov3pm 3pm Book

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Daytime lunch

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