Canio is jealous.
But he has reason to be.
His wife Nedda is having an affair and he just might lose her.
And curiously, the very play they are presenting — in their commedia dell'arte troupe — is all about deception and cheating spouses.
Soon, Canio is no longer acting beside Nedda, but threatening her and then he...
Well, you'll just have to see the opera.
Mill City Summer Opera is the new kid on the block presenting the spectacular play-within-a-play Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" this weekend. They will stage it right in the ruins, which incidentally are the remains of a fire that occurred in Minneapolis in 1991.
Artistic Director David Lefkowich stopped by the MPR studios to talk with me about how excited he is to be looking for new audiences for opera by presenting this particular one. Pagliacci is what is called a "verismo" opera which is all about a kind of in-your-face OTT emotion. It's thrilling to watch the passion and violence that will grip the audience from start to finish.
And with the close quarters of Mill City, this opera is just right for the first time opera goer who is only wanting to stick a toe in and try things out. David promises the production at Mill City is completely come-as-you-are, even ride your bike - with the added bonus that the opera is not long and includes English supertitles while the singers sing in Italian.
But prepare to get to the performances early, because all are completely sold out, except for a number of rush tickets on reserve at the door the night of each show.