PLA’s double-bill production this season will showcase two one-act operas: “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo and “Aleko” by Sergei Rachmaninov. Although these two masterpieces were composed around the same time, they are different in style, but with similar stories and perspective about societal norms, love and personal freedom. In these two operas our audiences can find connection with their own lives, understand better their own struggles related to love, betrayal, jealousy, emotional self-control and consequences of our free-minded behavior.
Another aspect, that will be so familiar to all audience members, is day-to-day struggles to keep up with the societal expectations and daily duties, in spite of our emotional misbalances and turmoils. This theme is symbolically embodied into the famous aria of Canio from Pagliacci “Vestí la giubba”. It would be important to notice, that opera “Aleko” in our double-bill production will be a premiere for San Diego. This opera is a signature masterpiece of Rachmaninov, where one can experience his lush musical language and emotional depth of the characters.
"Aleko" is an opera that was composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff at a age of 19, in 1892. This opera is Rachmaninoff's first venture into the world of opera. Drawing inspiration from Alexander Pushkins poem titled "The Gypsies", the complete title of the opera is "Aleko; A Mans Tragedy." The storyline revolves around Aleko, a budding artist who decides to turn away from society and embrace the life of Romani (Gypsy) people.
He experiences a love affair with a Romani woman named Zemfira. Their relationship takes a tragic turn as Aleko battles with jealousy and grapples with the clash between his previous life and the newfound world he has embraced. This opera is renowned for its charged and melodious music showcasing Rachmaninoff's talent as a composer. While it may not enjoy the level of recognition as some of Rachmaninoffs compositions it provides invaluable insights, into his early artistic style and reveals the influences that have shaped his musical language.
"Pagliacci" is an Italian opera composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo. The complete title of this opera "Pagliacci, a two act opera with a prologue" premiered in Milan on May 21 1892. One of the aspects of this opera is its prologue, where Tonio, one of the characters utters the line "La commedia è finita!" which translates to "The comedy's over!" indicating the tragic turn of events in the story. The storyline revolves around a troupe of traveling performers with a focus on Canios character who portrays the clown Pagliaccio.
In the act, Canio sings the aria "Vesti la giubba ", expressing his heartache and his determination to continue performing despite his personal anguish. The opera delves into themes of love and jealousy and blurs the line between fiction and reality. The boundaries, between the roles portrayed on stage and the genuine emotions felt by the actors become indistinct resulting in a captivating conclusion. "Pagliacci" immerses the spectators in a voyage illustrating how overpowering sentiments can yield tragic outcomes.