Opera of the week: Pagliacci January 12, 2007Posted by Jeff in Italian, Opera, Theater, Tito Gobbi.
The second (and imho lesser) half of opera’s most famous double bill, features the music of the first record ever to sell a million copies.
Leonard Bernstein tried to convince Metropolitan Opera director Rudolf Bing to put another opera on the bill with Cavalleria Rusticana, but no dice (Lenny wanted to do Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex. Hell, why not Salome? It’s shorter …) Anyway, if we must have murderous crying clowns, at least let them be these.
Here’s an interesting compilation of a musical clip of the most famous Canio of all time, with video from a silent movie of Enrico Caruso:
Having only heard Caruso’s performance of the Prologue and Vesti la giubba, it’s hard to compare his performance with that of the first tenor to record the complete role. Beniamino Gigli is over the top, but hell, so’s the opera. Here from a 1946 movie, is Gigli’s performance of the Prologue and the finales of Acts I and II:
And here is a complete 1954 performance with Maria Callas, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Tito Gobbi, Nicola Monti and Rolando Panerai, with Tullio Serafin conducting the La Scala Orchestra: