MUSIC | Ruggero Leoncavallo
LIBRETTO | Ruggero Leoncavallo
SUNG IN | Italian
OUTDOOR PICNIC PERFORMANCE | 40 minutes (begins one hour before curtain)
MAINSTAGE PERFORMANCE | 1 hour and 45 minutes
PERFORMANCES |July 27m, 29m; August 2, 6m, 8, 10, 18m
GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY | Elizabeth M. and Jean-Marie R. Eveillard

CONDUCTOR | Joseph Colaneri
DIRECTOR | Brenna Corner
SET DESIGNER | James Rotondo
CHORUS DIRECTOR | Katherine Kozak


An aging Tonio recalls his life on the stage, when he played the role of Taddeo in a traveling commedia dell’arte troupe. Drawing us into his memory, he cautions the audience that the story he is about to unfold is inspired by truth—a slice of life.

A troupe of players arrives at a village where they plan to offer an evening performance. In addition to Tonio, the troupe includes Canio (who plays Pierrot, or “Pagliaccio”), Nedda (Columbina), and Peppe (Arlecchino); traveling with them is Canio and Nedda’s young child. To fill the time before the performance, Canio and Peppe accept the villagers’ invitation to a drink at the local tavern. When Tonio stays behind, the villagers tease Canio, suggesting his wife, Nedda, is having an affair with Tonio. Canio is not amused. After the others leave, Tonio makes advances to Nedda, but she rejects him; he threatens her as he departs. Silvio, Nedda’s lover, pleads with Nedda to flee with him; she agrees. Tonio overhears their plot and informs Canio, who comes back to catch his wife’s lover, but Silvio escapes as Nedda calls, “I will always be yours.” Canio demands that Nedda reveal her lover’s name, threatening murder, but Nedda refuses.

Later that evening, the troupe begins the play. Left alone by her husband, Pagliaccio, Columbina anxiously awaits her lover, Arlecchino, but is interrupted by Taddeo, who declares his love. Columbina mocks Taddeo and welcomes Arlecchino. After kicking Taddeo out, Arlecchino and Columbina make plans to run away together; Arlecchino gives Columbina a sleeping potion for her husband, Pagliaccio. Taddeo returns, warning the lovers that Pagliaccio is on his way. As Arlecchino flees, Columbina calls, “I will always be yours.” When Canio, as Pagliaccio, re-enters, the boundaries between life and art begin to blur. Nedda/Columbina tries unsuccessfully to continue the farce as Canio/Pagliaccio becomes more and more enraged. Peppe, sensing danger, asks Tonio to stop the action, but Tonio refuses, still smarting from Nedda’s rejection. As the crowd watches, Canio brings the drama to its inevitable conclusion.

Get Tickets


‡ member of the Young Artists Program

2024 Festival - Identity & Illusion

Immerse yourself in myth, mystery, and adventure this summer!

Support Glimmerglass

Voices soar with your support, make a gift today!

Ticket Packages Available Now!

There are many great reasons to purchase a Glimmerglass Festival ticket package (two or more shows)!