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Pagliacci (1982)

The story is set in southern Italy and recounts the tragedy of Canio, the lead clown in a commedia dell'arte troupe, his wife Nedda, and her lover, Silvio.


Franco Zeffirelli


Ruggero Leoncavallo (libretto)
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Teresa Stratas Teresa Stratas ... Nedda
Plácido Domingo ... Canio
Juan Pons Juan Pons ... Tonio
Alberto Rinaldi Alberto Rinaldi ... Silvio
Florindo Andreolli Florindo Andreolli ... Beppe
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ivan Del Manto Ivan Del Manto
Alfredo Pistone Alfredo Pistone


The story is set in southern Italy and recounts the tragedy of Canio, the lead clown in a commedia dell'arte troupe, his wife Nedda, and her lover, Silvio.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

filmed opera | opera | See All (2) »






Italy | West Germany



Release Date:

4 May 2017 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Bajazzo See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

UNITEL See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Version of Cavalleria rusticana (2007) See more »


Pagliacci (Dramma In Due Atti)
Composed By, Libretto By Ruggero Leoncavallo
Prologo / Atto Primo / Atto Secondo
Vocals [Canio (Pagliaccio)] by Plácido Domingo
Vocals [Neda (Columbina)] by Teresa Stratas
Vocals [Peppe (Arlecchino)] by Florindo Andreolli
Vocals [Silvio] by Alberto Rinaldi
Vocals [Tonio (Taddeo)] by Juan Pons
Vocals [Un Contadino] by Alfredo Pistone, Ivan Del Manto
Orchestra: Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala with Georges Prêtre (Conductor) and Romano Gandolfi(Chorus Master)
Phonographic Copyright (p), Copyright © Deutsche Grammophon GmbH
Copyright © Unitel
Recorded At Teatro alla Scala, Milano
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User Reviews

Yet another Zeffirelli masterpiece
23 February 2011 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

I think Franco Zeffirelli is a very talented director. Of all his opera films, I love every single one. All of them, especially La Traviata, are visually beautiful, with wonderful music and superb acting and singing. Pagliacci is no exception. I love two film versions of this great opera to death, this and the 1968 TV version with Jon Vickers as Canio and Herbert Von Karajan, the latter I am more familiar with but there is so much to love about Zeffirelli's film.

About Pagliacci itself, it has a quite simple(in its structure) story but its events are very dramatic, especially in Act 2 when Canio comes on stage in his Pagliaccio guise and tells Nedda to reveal her lover and she tries to make it part of the show. It is a great story essentially with themes of love, betrayal and jealousy, with characters that you do care for regardless of their actions. Leoncavallo's music is superb, not just Vesti La Guibba which is heart-rending, but also the amazing Si Puo prologue, the Bell chorus, Non Pagliaccio non son(a real tour-de-force if done right) and Nedda's aria detailing how unhappy she is with Canio, and of her lover.

Zeffirelli's direction is immaculate once again, while the film looks exquisite. Maybe not as breathtaking as Cavalleria Rusticana or La Traviata, both of which are textbook examples of how to film an opera, but the photography is wonderfully fluid and the scenery, sets and costumes are lavish. The conducting is musical and enthusiastic, while the orchestra play with a truly great sound that alone makes some parts of the score more emotional at the core than they already are. Excellent singing from the chorus too, and they react very well in the play scene, not only to Canio but also to Tonio and Nedda as well.

The singing and acting are superb. Placido Domingo is magnificent as Canio, he is in terrific voice and his presence is as charismatic as ever. His performance of Vesti La Guibba is poignant to the point it is heart-wrenching, while his Non Pagliaccio non son is a brutish and terrifying tour-de-force. Teresa Stratas is an equally wonderful Nedda, she too sounds great and while she shows real delicacy with Silvio her increasing panic in Act 2 is equally impressive. I was also very impressed with Juan Pons, the prologue is sung beautifully. Also while we do feel some sympathy for him like when he is mocked, there are other times, sometimes even in the same scene, when we are repulsed by Tonio and his lust is very mean-spirited here. In contrast to the brutish Canio is a delicate and gentle Silvio, and he is performed with real sensitivity making his and Nedda's scenes one of the most beautiful and most tender scenes of the film, while in contrast the La Commedia E Finita line is very chilling.

So all in all, brilliant and another Zeffirelli masterpiece. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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