Pagliacci

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Caruso as Canio

I pagliacci or Pagliacci (English: The Players) is a short two-act opera with libretto and music by Ruggero Leoncavallo. It was first performed in the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan, Italy on May 21, 1892. It was conducted by Arturo Toscanini.

The opera is about an adulterous love affair between the wife of a traveling actor and a village man that ends in the murders of both.

The role of Canio became Enrico Caruso's signature role. Pagliacci is the only opera by Leoncavallo still performed. It is usually paired with Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana.