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“Immersive community opera”

Bill Bankes-Jones’ Pagliacci transports Leoncavallo’s rural Italian tragedy to a tent in Paisley. A performing troupe arrive to stage a commedia dell’arte show during the town’s traditional Sma’ Shot Festival.

The opera, most commonly presented in a double bill with Cavalleria Rusticana, makes a full evening’s entertainment, starting an hour before curtain up with sideshows, dressing up and a raffle to win a go at conducting the orchestra.

The 90-strong professional and community chorus add to the ambience until the troupe arrive at the head of a procession of trade union banners for an immersive, promenade first half. For the second, they bring out benches and the curtains are raised on a flat-bed lorry to reveal Columbina’s kitchen where Nedda’s tragedy will play out.

Bankes-Jones’ thoroughly accessible English translation – down to the reminder to turn off your mobiles in the prologue – is delivered with clarity throughout.

Ronald Samm is particularly thrilling as Canio. His Put on the Costume aria – on discovering Nedda’s infidelity – is spine tingling.

Robert Hayward is a forceful Tonio – here given the final line. There’s a real sense of danger to his unwanted advances towards Nedda, given an edgy telling by Anna Patalong. Nedda’s flirtation with Samuel Dale Johnson’s Silvio is a vocal triumph –and his reimagining as a Scottish Opera technician a particularly clever touch.

This is a highly entertaining production, cleverly designed and presented with attention to detail.

Related to this Review

Le CidLe Cid

Production Details
Production namePagliacci
VenuePaisley Opera House
StartsJuly 26, 2018
EndsJuly 28, 2018
Running time2hrs 40mins
TranslatorBill Bankes-Jones
ComposerRuggero Leoncavallo
DirectorBill Bankes-Jones
ConductorStuart Stratford
Set designerTim Meacock
Lighting designerRobert B Dickson
CastAnna Patalong, Alasdair Elliott, Declan Mccusker, Philip Gault, Robert Hayward, Ronald Samm, Samuel Dale Johnson
VerdictScottish Opera’s immersive community production revitalises and illuminates the tragic opera
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Thom Dibdin

Thom Dibdin

Thom Dibdin

Thom Dibdin

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