An opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo

Greek Theatre, 9.00 pm
This is the tale of a clown whose heart is breaking but must go on playing out his comic part, concealing his grand passions under the mask of the clown.
Main actors: Piero Giuliacci, Rachele Stanisci and Giovanni Di Mare
Direction: Enrico Castiglione
Costumes: Sonia Cammarata
Chorus: Coro Lirico Siciliano directed by Francesco Costa
Orchestra: Euro Mediterranean Orchestra direcred by Luiz Fernando Malheiro

A dance performace – Pasion flamenca by José Porcel – will accompany the opera.


Stalls (Parterre): € 75,00
Gallery: € 50,50
Upper circle (numbered seats): € 39,00
Upper circle (non-numbered seats): € 22,00

Stalls (Parterre): € 85,00
Gallery: € 57,00
Upper circle (numbered seats): € 44,00
Upper circle (non-numbered seats): € 27,50

Stalls (Parterre): € 95,00
Gallery: € 63,00
Upper circle (numbered seats): € 49,00
Upper circle (non-numbered seats): € 33,00

Stalls (Parterre): € 105,00
Gallery: € 70,00
Upper circle (numbered seats): € 54,00
Upper circle (non-numbered seats): € 38,00
Tickets on for August 10 and August 14 and on
Ticket Office in Taormina: +39 0942.628730

Leoncavallo’s skill was to clothe these devices in music that was touching, immediately accessible and
attractive, tuneful without being tawdry. He was an accomplished librettist and by adhering to the Aristotelian unities of time and space, his scenario is at once credible and swift-moving. His characterization may not run very deep, but it is convincing enough to make us believe that these are real people.
© 1998 Alan Blyth –

The action takes place in a Calabrian village on the eve of the Feast of the Assumption. The opera opens with a prologue when Tonio steps in front of the curtain and addresses the audience, reminding them that the actors are real people and that the story should not be dismissed as fiction.

Act I
The villagers are celebrating the Feast of the Assumption, and when they see that the players have arrived in the village rush to greet them. Canio, the leader of the troupe, comes forward and tells the assembled villagers that the performance will take place that evening.
Tonio tries to help Canio’s wife, Nedda, out of the cart she has been riding in, but Canio pushes him out of the way and boxes his ears.
A few of the villagers comment that maybe Tonio and Nedda should not be left alone together. Canio is angry and says that while in a play such a thing may be classed as comedy, in real life the outcome would be very different. When he has calmed down he and Beppe go into the village, and the villagers go to vespers.
Left alone, Nedda becomes worried about Canio’s outburst, but she soon relaxes in the vening sunshine. Tonio appears and after she has finished her song he approaches her and declares his love. But Nedda laughs at him, and he gets more and more angry. She is eventually forced to protect herself by striking him in the face with a whip. He leaves, but swears revenge.
Just after he has gone, Nedda’s lover, Silvio, appears. He urges her to run away with him after that night’s performance. At first she does not agree, but when Silvio questions her love she relents. Tonio overhears part of their conversation and he goes to fetch Canio, who arrives just in time to hear her calling out to Silvio who has disappeared over the wall. Nedda refuses to tell Canio her lover’s name. Canio, racked with jealousy, dresses for his part in the comedy. He is sure that her lover will be at the play that evening.

Act II
The audience (including Silvio) is assembled and Nedda collects their money. The play begins.
Columbina (Nedda) is waiting for her lover Harlequin (Beppe), as her husband Pagliaccio (Canio) has gone away for the night. Outside Harlequin serenades her. Taddeo (Tonio) enters and declares his secret love for her, but she scorns him and he leaves when Harlequin enters.
Harlequin and Columbina sit down to eat and but Pagliaccio returns unexpectedly and Harlequin escapes through the window. Her farewell words to Harlequin remind Canio of Nedda’s farewell to her secret lover earlier that evening. Canio finds it hard to keep in character and demands of Columbina/Nedda her lover’s name. Nedda desperately tries to keep in character, but Canio becomes more and more angry. The spectators become nervous, and Nedda tries to escape. But Canio manages to grab her and he stabs her. Silvio rushes to try to save her, but he too is stabbed. As Canio stands shocked, he announces to the audience that the play is over.