English translation by Edmund Tracey (for English National Opera)
Set in southern Italy in the late 1860s, Pagliacci (Players, or Clowns) recounts the tragedy of a jealous husband (Canio) in a commedia dell’arte troupe. It premiered in Milan on May 21 1892, and was an instant success. It contains one of opera’s most famous and popular arias, Recitar! ... Vesti la giubba (literally, To perform! ... Put on the costume, often known in English as On with the motley), and in 1907 it became the first opera to be recorded in its entirety. It has appeared as number 14 on Opera America’s list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America.