Pagliacci is a 1982 Italian film of Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci, directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Including Plácido Domingo and Teresa Stratas in the starring roles, all the actors were opera singers who sang their own parts. Pagliacci was shot on location in Vizzini, Sicily, at Milan's La Scala opera house and on a movie sound stage. Georges Prêtre conducted the Orchestra and Choir of La Scala.
The story is set in southern Italy and recounts the tragedy of Canio, the lead clown (or pagliaccio in Italian) in a commedia dell'arte troupe, his wife Nedda, and her lover, Silvio. When Nedda spurns the advances of Tonio, another player in the troupe, he tells Canio about Nedda's betrayal. In a jealous rage Canio murders both Nedda and Silvio. Although Leoncavallo's opera was originally set in the late 1860s, Zeffirelli's production is updated to the period between World War I and World War II.
The film was screened out of competition at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. It was also screened on television and brought Zeffirelli an Emmy Award for Best Director in the category of Classical Music Programming. In 2003, Pagliacci was released on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon, paired with Cavalleria rusticana (also starring Plácido Domingo).
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