“The general public is always interested in the lives of celebrities, the lives of professional actors,” added Briggle who helmed Dayton Opera’s world premiere of “The Book Collector” last season. “And certainly in this village where the actors have come to perform their play the actors are celebrities. So, when the private lives of the actors become very public in a violent and tragic way, the village is a character as a whole that responds to that drama.”
The lead role of Canio will be played by tenor John Pickle most recently seen as Lt. B.F. Pinkerton in Dayton Opera’s 2015 production of “Madame Butterfly.” The Delaware News Journal specifically praised his recent performance in “I Pagliaaci” saying, “John Pickle’s portrayal of the jealous Canio is especially poignant during the aria ‘Vesti la giubba,’ the tenor’s powerful high notes ringing beautifully throughout the house.” Also returning to Dayton Opera is soprano Chloé Oliva Moore as Nedda. Moore returns after making her Dayton Opera debut as Leila in the 2015 production of “Pearl Fishers.” Baritone Malcolm MacKenzie, portraying Tonio, the traveling clown who betrays Canio by exposing his betrothed’s indiscretions, appeared in the title role in Dayton Opera’s 2002 production of “Don Giovanni.”
In addition, two pivotal supporting roles will be portrayed by baritone Kenneth Stavert as Silvio and tenor Robert Norman as Beppe, another troupe member. Stavert portrayed Papageno in Dayton Opera’s 2014 production of “The Magic Flute.” Norman, who portrayed Goro in last season’s “Madame Butterfly,” will return later this season as Pedrillo in “The Abduction from the Seraglio.”
The production also features guest conductor Willie Anthony Waters, returning to Dayton Opera for the first time in over 20 years. Waters previously conducted “Carmen” in 1994 and “Faust” in 1984. He has served as artistic director for Connecticut Opera, and, in 1985, became the first African-American to be named artistic director of a major American opera company, the Greater Miami Opera, now Florida Grand Opera. Also, the Dayton Opera Chorus will be led by chorus master Jeffrey Powell.
Leoncavallo’s story of this traveling troupe of comedians is a potent, realistic drama about flesh and blood characters,” said Dayton Opera artistic director Thomas Bankston. “It is passionate music, with its heart wrenching tenor aria ‘Vesti la giubba’ even finding a place in pop culture. ‘I Pagliacci’ uniquely touches our 21st century emotions as it has touched those of audiences for decades before us.”
WANT TO GO?
What: "I Pagliacci"
Where: Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, Second and Main streets, Dayton
When: Nov. 11 and 13 — 8 p.m. Friday; 3 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: Call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.daytonperformingarts.org
FYI: The opera will be sung in Italian with English surtitles above the stage; Dayton Opera will host a Festa Italiana in the Wintergarden of the Schuster Center one hour before both performances; A pre-performance talk moderated by University of Dayton music professor Dr. Sam Dorf will take place one hour before both performances inside the Mead Theatre.