Future opera singers are easily identified at birth due to their multi-octave crying and graceful bows as they emerge from the womb. Check out how far these toddling tenors have come with this GrouponLive deal to see Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, performed by the Shreveport Opera at RiverView Theater. For $12, you get one ticket for bronze-level seating in floor section A or E or balcony sections A, E–H, or K–M on Saturday, February 16, at 7:30 p.m. (up to a $25 value). Doors open for the show at 7 p.m., and concertgoers may attend a preshow lecture at 6:30 p.m.
During the overture, the clown Tonio defies the closed curtain and pokes out his makeup-coated face, imploring the audience to remember that actors are real people with feelings. The opera then officially commences at a village, where a roving actors’ troupe prepares to put on the drama of Pagliaccio. The head of the company, Canio, professes his trust in his wife, Nedda, even as Tonio seeks to draw her astray and a villager, Silvio, already has. Just as the tangle of jealousies and betrayals begins to grow taut, the actors’ show begins, and a violent finale seems all but certain.
Audiences perch on the edge of their seats during the climactic moment, where Canio declares “No, pagliaccio non son,” throwing off the role of Pagliaccio as he confronts his wife. As the villagers remark at the realism of the scene, he alternately bemoans his plight and spars with Nedda, even as she attempts to continue the show. The music grows to a cacophony as Canio exacts his revenge before exclaiming finally, “the play is over!”
A cast of established opera stars and newly recognized players fills the clownish costumes of the principal cast. Tenor Allan Glassman returns to the layered role of Canio, having honed his performance with the Arizona Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and Nashville Opera, and soprano Eleni Calenos gives Nedda a voice that was described by the Houston Press as a “true wonder to hear.” Baritone and William Matheus Sullivan Award winner Lawrence Alexander steps into the duplicitous clown shoes of Tonio, and fellow baritone Edward Parks takes on the role of the village lover, Silvio.