Clowns have feelings, too. That's what makes them so terrifying. Beneath that wooden smile is a person whose passion, rage and despair are becoming as stiff and singular as the expression painted on their face.
Such is the tragedy of Pagliacci, a clown who discovers his wife is having an affair. Unable to escape his stage persona, his feverish jealousy consumes him mid-performance. Pagliacci's story comes to the Egyptian Theatre Friday, March 1, and Sunday, March 3, courtesy of Opera Idaho. Tickets are $15-$69. For your hard-earned dough you'll also get to see Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite, performed by Ballet Idaho.
Pagliacci, written by Ruggero Leoncavallo, has been widely produced since its debut in 1892. It's a hit with audiences, who connect with the tragic Canio the clown and star-crossed lovers Nedda and Silvio.
The opera is also moving because it explores the layers of human experience and the unspoken rules of passion and behavior. Canio, the man in the clown suit, finds himself onstage and unable to break character while dealing with the emotional effects of his wife's infidelity.
But mostly, people watch Pagliacci to confirm their worst fears about murderous clowns and their garish getups.
Preceding Pagliacci is a Ballet Idaho production of the Pulcinella Suite--a taste of the full ballet of the same name by Igor Stravinsky. Seasoned operagoers will find Pagliacci and the Pulcinella Suite pair with intelligence and verve. For those attending an opera for the first time, these staples of the stage will invigorate and inspire.