"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". Both works are strongly linked with the name of
Franco Zeffirelli, the great stage and film director who has been infusing
the operatic repertoire with grace, elegance and poignancy. Both his Emmy
Award-winning production of "Pagliacci" and his "Cavalleria" feature
international star tenor Placido Domingo.