"Pagliacci" is often celebrated as one of the finest examples of verismo,
or realist opera. It is even based on a true story: Leoncavallo's father, a
judge, once presided over the trial of an actor who, in a fit of jealousy,
murdered his wife immediately following a performance. "Pagliacci" is
frequently performed along with Mascagni's one-acter "Cavalleria
Rusticana". Director and conductor Herbert von Karajan does not simply
recreate a standard work; rather, he examines, it, psychoanalyzes its
protagonists, lays bare the people behind the masks. In the process, he
also makes a magnificent musical statement. Karajan is obsessed with
faces - open, shadowed, distorted - suggesting his belief in the adage
that eyes are the windows of the mind and the soul. Through elaborate
intercutting from four or five cameras, he moves stealthfully from members
of the crowd to his principals and back, gradually tightening the dramatic
knot which binds them all together in this tale of love, hate and
retribution. Joining the superb Jon Vickers is soprano Raina Kabaivanska as
Nedda. Hers is a brilliant, multi-faceted performance of fascinating
detail. The fine Tonio is Peter Glossop; George Wakhevitch designed the
elaborate setting, the square of an Italian village.

Composer: Ruggero Leoncavallo
Title: Pagliacci
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Staged By: Paul Hager
Soloist: Raina Kabaivanska, Jon Vickers, Peter Glossop, Rolando Panerai, Sergio Lorenzi
Set: Georges Wakhevitch
Orchestra: Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala
Chorus: Coro del Teatro alla Scala
Video Director: Herbert von Karajan
Genre: Opera
Length: 76 minutes
Cat.No.: A05003132
Gallery         DVD