Claudia, The Opera Critic
age: 12 years

Worksheet

Recitar! Vesti La Giubba.  Perform!  Wear The Costume.
Sung by the tenor, Roberto Alagna

 


This aria is from the short opera Pagliacci by composer Ruggero Leoncavallo.  The title of the opera - Pagliacci - means 'Clowns.'   It is an opera in two acts and was first performed in Milan in 1892.

The famous aria is sung by a theatrical clown called Canio whilst he is preparing to go on stage.  He is putting on his costume and make-up and looking at himself in the mirror. 

Canio is sad because he has just discovered that his wife, Nedda, has fallen in love with another man. 

Even though he is crying with sadness, Canio decides that the show must go on.  So, he forces himself to get ready and, whilst doing so, he sings this sad aria.

The Opinion of Claudia:
 


The sound of this aria makes me feel very sad.   I feel so sorry for Canio, the clown. 

The music is quite slow and at times it is very loud and heavy.  Sometimes, you can even hear the clown crying.  Even the musical instruments have a low tone.

I would like to help Canio.  I hope he feels better soon.  It is strange that a clown who is supposed to make people laugh is making them cry instead.

It is difficult to remember that the tenor is only playing a part, like an actor.   I now realise that singers and musical instruments can play a part by showing emotions just like an actor.

The tenor is so powerful in his sad singing that I would definitely be standing up and shouting Bravissimo! at the end of his performance.  It is an overwhelming aria and, in my opinion, signor Leoncavallo should be very proud of his composition.



 


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