Duration: 80 mins
Composer: Ruggero Leoncavallo
Librettist: Ruggero Leoncavallo
Premiere Date: May 21, 1892
Premiere Location: Teatro Dal Verme, Milan

The show must go on.

The circus performers in Pagliacci grapple with tragedy and question boldly whether they must perform despite heartbreak and ruin.

In The Atlanta Opera’s completely fall 2020 production of Leoncavallo’s verismo classic, audiences enter a dystopian world where artists question their ability to perform, distance separates loved ones, and a play-within-a-play exposes a great betrayal.

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The filmed version brings the audience on stage with the performers. Close-ups and intimate vantage points that only cinema can provide will make you feel like you were there in the Big Tent, while you relax at home or on-the-go.

This entirely new production was built for our time and introduces innovative staging elements built for keeping the cast, crew and audience safe during a successful run of 9 performances in October and November 2020.

Featuring The Atlanta Opera Company Players, this production includes performances from Reginald Smith, Jr. (Tonio), Richard Trey Smagur (Canio), Talise Trevigne (Nedda), Megan Marino (Beppe) and Joseph Lattanzi (Silvio).

Performed in Italian with English supertitles

Part of the 2020-21 Molly Blank Big Tent Series
support provided by Gramma Fisher Foundation – Howard Hunter

Characters & Cast


The fool
Taddeo – Colombina’s servant

Reginald Smith Jr.

A “passionate performer” (New York Times) with an “electric and “thrillingly dramatic” voice that is “one of the most exciting baritone sounds to come along in years” (Opera News).

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(Nov 11, 13, & 15)

The fool
Taddeo – Colombina’s servant

Joshua Conyers

He is quickly being championed for his captivating performances as he continues to be recognized as one the promising young dramatic voices of today.

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Troup leader
Pagliaccio – Colombina’s husband

Richard Trey Smagur

Noted for his “attractive lyric tenor” and “vivid presence” and a winner of the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

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Cano’s wife, in love with Silvio
Colombina – Pagliaccio’s wife, in love with Arlecchino

Talise Trevigne

She provides a wealth of vocal highlights with her nuance-rich voice.

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Nedda’s lover

Joseph Lattanzi

“… confident, handsome presence, and a resonant baritone suggesting wells of feeling that the character might prefer to leave untapped.” [Opera News]

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Arlecchino – Colombina’s lover

Megan Marino

She is a genre-adventurous, “gifted actress with a strong, appealing voice graced by a rich lower register” [Opera News].

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Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919)

Italian composer Ruggero Leoncavallo was born in Naples on April 23, 1857. Though it was not performed publicly until some time later, Leoncavallo completed his first opera Chatterton in 1876, before his twentieth birthday. Not long after, Leoncavallo fell on hard times and became a café pianist and sometime teacher in Paris, London, and Egypt. The famous baritone Victor Maurel introduced him to Ricordi, the leading music publisher in Milan, beginning a tumultuous relationship. Heavily influenced by Wagner, Leoncavallo conceived of a three-part Italian answer to the Ring cycle.

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Only the first part, I Medici, was completed. Though technically proficient, it met with little success and caused ongoing problems with Ricordi. Leoncavallo either did not want to or could not finish the triology. Soon thereafter, Leoncavallo realized the potential of realism in opera and began composing what would be become Pagilacci , based on the facts of one of his magistrate father’s legal cases. Pagliacci was an immediate success, and paved the way for public performances of his earlier works, I Medici and Chatterton. He finished his adaption of Murger’s Scegravenes de la vie de Bohegraveme in 1892, fifteen months after Puccini’s version. Though both Le Bohème’s were successful initially, Puccini’s has better stood the test of time. Zazagrave (1900) followed to great international success. Then came a commission from Wilhelm II for an opera celebrating the Hohenzollern dynasty. The German-language Der Roland von Berlin received great acclaim on its debut in 1904. An early adaptor of the new media of the early 20th century, Leoncavallo’s version of Mattinata was recorded by Caruso in 1904, meeting with overwhelming success. His last completed work, Goffredo Mameli (1916) was a grand patriotic work. He left unfinished the most ambitious work of his life, adapting into operas the plays Edipo re and Prometeo. Edipo was debuted after his death in 1919.

Courtesy of the Kennedy Center



Rolando Salazar

Rolando Salazar is the assistant conductor, assistant chorus master, and the music administrator for the Atlanta Opera. He has served as assistant conductor and pianist at The Bellingham Festival of Music, as assistant conductor at La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy, and as coach/conductor for the Harrower Opera Workshop. He serves as artistic director and conductor of the Georgia Piedmont Youth Orchestra while maintaining a guest-conducting schedule, most recently in performances with the Georgia State University Orchestra, Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra, Georgia State University Opera, and the Ozark Family Opera. Mr. Salazar also keeps an active coaching and collaborative piano schedule in Atlanta, preparing numerous singers for engagements with major orchestras and opera houses worldwide. A student of Michael Palmer, he is a graduate of Georgia State University with a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting and an Artist Diploma in Orchestra and Opera.



Tomer Zvulun

General and Artistic Director of The Atlanta Opera since 2013, Israeli born Tomer Zvulun is also one of leading stage director of his generation, earning consistent praise for his creative vision and innovative interpretations. His work has been presented by prestigious opera houses in Europe, South and Central America, Israel and the US, including The Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas, San Diego, Boston, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Israeli Opera, and the festivals of Wexford, Glimmerglass and Wolf Trap, as well as leading educational institutes and universities such as The Juilliard School, Indiana University, and Boston University.

Tomer spent seven seasons on the directing staff of the Metropolitan Opera where he directed revivals of Carmen and Tosca and was involved with more than a dozen new productions. He is a frequent guest director in companies such as Seattle Opera (Semele, La Bohème, Eugene Onegin, Lucia di Lammermoor), Dallas Opera (Die Fledermaus, La Bohème), Houston (Flying Dutchman, Rigoletto), Wexford Festival (Silent Night, Dinner at Eight), Cincinnati Opera (Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, Flying Dutchman), Wolf Trap (Falstaff, Don Giovanni), Israeli Opera (Dead Man Walking, Giulio Cesare) among others. His European premiere of Silent Night at the Wexford Festival received two Irish Times Awards and traveled from Ireland to Washington National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival and the opera companies of Atlanta, Austin and Salt Lake City.

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Zvulun directed over 15 new productions in his home company in Atlanta, including Dead Man Walking, Flying Dutchman, Soldier Songs, Silent Night, Maria de Buenos Aires, La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, Lucia di Lammermoor, Magic Flute, and Eugene Onegin to name but a few. During Tomer’s tenure, the company’s fundraising has tripled, resulting in twice the number of productions presented annually. His focus on innovation has garnered national attention and resulted in a Harvard Business School case study chronicling The Atlanta Opera’s turnaround, an International Opera Awards nomination, an ArtsATL Luminary Award, and an invitation to deliver a TEDx Talk about innovation in opera.

His upcoming projects include a new Rigoletto in Houston; a new Salome in Atlanta and Kansas City; revivals of his acclaimed production of Eugene Onegin in Montreal, Seattle and Palm Beach; Silent Night at Utah Opera; and Madama Butterfly and Glory Denied in Atlanta. He is currently working on developing a world premiere based on Anne Frank’s Diary and Sensorium Ex, a world premiere based on a story about artificial intelligence.

Tomer’s recent shows have traveled across continents, receiving critical acclaim for their striking visuals and cinematic quality. Some of them included The Flying Dutchman (Houston, Cincinnati, Atlanta), Dinner at Eight (Wexford Festival, Minnesota Opera), Eugene Onegin (Seattle, Atlanta, Detroit, Kansas City), Lucia di Lammermoor (Seattle, Atlanta, Cleveland) Silent Night (Wexford, Atlanta, Glimmerglass, Washington, Austin), Soldier Songs (Atlanta, San Diego), Dead Man Walking (New Orleans, Atlanta), La Bohème (Seattle, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Atlanta, Dallas), Lucrezia Borgia (Buenos Aires), Gianni Schicchi (Juilliard, IVAI Tel Aviv), L’heaure Espagnole (Juilliard), Magic Flute (Cincinnati, Atlanta, Indiana University), Don Giovanni (Wolf Trap, Cincinnati), Die Fledermaus (Dallas, Kansas City), Falstaff (Wolf Trap, Des Moines), Rigoletto (Boston, Atlanta, Omaha, Charlotte), Madama Butterfly (Atlanta, Castleton Festival, New Orleans), Tosca (National Theatre Panama, Atlanta) and Semele (Seattle).

Tomer Zvulun was born and raised in Israel, attended the open University in Tel Aviv and Harvard Business School and makes his home in Atlanta.