Vesti la giubba
"Vesti la giubba" ("Put on the costume", sometimes translated as "On With the Motley") is a famous tenor aria from Ruggero Leoncavallo's 1892 opera Pagliacci. "Vesti la giubba" is sung at the conclusion of the first act, when Canio discovers his wife's infidelity, but must nevertheless prepare for his performance as Pagliaccio the clown because "the show must go on".
The aria is often regarded as one of the most moving in the operatic repertoire of the time. The pain of Canio is portrayed in the aria and exemplifies the entire notion of the "tragic clown": smiling on the outside but crying on the inside. This is still displayed today, as the clown motif often features the painted-on tear running down the cheek of the performer.
This aria is often used in popular culture, and has been featured in many renditions, mentions, and spoofs.
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Recitar! Mentre preso dal delirio,
Act! While in delirium,
In popular culture
- Both the melody of the aria and dramatic points of the opera from which it comes are referenced by Homer and Jethro in the 1953 Spike Jones song "Pal Yat Chee" on RCA Victor: "When we listen to Pagliacchi,[clarification needed Intentionally spelled this way?] we get itchy and scratchy; this sure is top corn, so we go and buy some popcorn."[not in citation given]
- The melody of the song was used by the rock band Queen in their 1984 single "It's a Hard Life" when frontman Freddie Mercury sang that song's opening lyrics "I don't want my freedom, there's no reason for living with a broken heart."
- The melody of the song is also used as Harold Berman's theme in the Nickelodeon animated series Hey Arnold!.
- The opera is performed in The Simpsons episode "The Italian Bob," in which Sideshow Bob sings the final verse of the aria.
- The New Guinness Book of Records, ed. Peter Matthews, Guinness Publishing. 1995. p. 150
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 9. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- Ruggero Leoncavallo (1892). Pagliacci – Dramma in un atto. Milan: Edoardo Sonzogno. p. 28.
- Spike Jones And His City Slickers – Dragnet / Pal-Yat-Chee at Discogs.com
- "Classical music that inspired pop songs", Classic FM (UK), undated