Alaska’s Coolest Weekly Magazine Delivers the Operatic 411!

Anchorage Press09

Curious about AO’s first two shows of the new season? Check out this Bull’s-Eye description by Andi Powers of Alaska’s Coolest Weekly Mag, Anchorage Press.

“Even if you are not an opera fan you may have heard or seen references to Pagliacci (the word translates as “players” or “clowns”) without even realizing it. With music that’s featured in just about every classic mafia movie, Pagliacci is the only opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo that is still performed on stage. The opera tells the story of a jealous husband and his adulterous wife. Billie Holiday sang “I guess I’ll have to play Pagliacci and get myself a clown’s disguise” in her song “The Masquerade is Over.” And yes, the Smokey Robinson song “The Tears of a Clown” makes reference to the Italian opera, too.

And the allusions aren’t just limited the music world, either.

On an episode of the sitcom Seinfeld (aptly titled “The Opera”), Jerry and Elaine attend a performance of Pagliacci where their shared stalker “Crazy” Joe Davola disguises himself as the clown from the opera and tries to enact his revenge on them. The Simpsons aired an episode where the Simpson family goes to Italy, and ends up on stage in a Pagliacci show with Sideshow Bob, along with his wife and son, trying to kill the whole family as part of the act.

Pagliacci is being performed along with the Italian opera Sister Angelica, by master composer Giacomo Puccini (of La Boheme and Madama Butterfly fame). Sister Angelica is an opera in only one act. To make a long opera short, the story follows a nun who, upon hearing news of her illegitimate son’s death, commits suicide.

If you’d like to see murderous clowns and suicidal nuns, the pairing of these two operas will be perfect for you. Both operas sung in Italian with English subtitles. Times vary. Sat., November 7-Sun., November 15 at the Discovery Theatre (621 W. Sixth Ave.). For tickets visit

Anchorage Press … You Rock.  And We Salute You!


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