SAINT AUGUSTINE – Maestro Curtis Tucker,artistic director of the First Coast Opera, had the vision to pair “Pagliacci” with an opera that could be set in the same place, at the same time, and with the same cast.
An orchestra of 19 musicians will accompany this unique and special production at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 and 2 p.m. Feb. 11 in Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College.
Tickets are available at firstcoastopera.com.
“The Stranger’s Tale,” which occurs in New York City’s Central Park, works nicely with “Pagliacci’s story of intrigue among a travelling theatrical troupe. The Stranger’s Tale (Tucker) serves as Act 1, and “Pagliacci”(Leoncavallo) follows as an Act 2. A single story line continues throughout both and the action occurs during a single day in Central Park in the early 21st century. A couple of the “Pagliacci” characters do not appear until the second half, but many of them also appear as characters in the first half. A bit of theatrical suspension of disbelief is needed, as, for example, “The Stranger’s Tale” is sung in English, while “I Pagliacci” is sung in Italian.
Supertitles will be used for both, and using original languages keeps the musical integrity of both pieces, while massaging the stories into a single tale.
Stranger’s Tale premiered in New York in 2005,and begins with a homeless man sleeping on a park bench in Central Park. As he encounters the lives of others in the park, the story unfolds. Later in the day, a clown show, Canio’s Clown Show, arrives in Central Park near the same park bench and is the setting for Pagliacci. Pagliacci involves the characters in the clown show, their lives backstage which parallel their roles in the show within a show.