Boston Lyric Opera To Pair ‘Pagliacci’ With Immersive Roadshow Circus

By Nicole Kuchta

Boston Lyric Opera will open its 2019-20 season this September with the company’s first production of Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci.”

David Lefkowich will direct the opera “and its pre-show experience – an immersive roadshow circus that mirrors the opera’s play-within-a-play story of a traveling troupe whose onstage drama pales in comparison to its backstage love triangle.” Guests can enjoy circus performances, live music, carnival games, and concessions at the indoor fairgrounds in the hour before curtain, along with specialty food trucks and picnicking along the Boston Harbor coast.

“For this Pagliacci, we’re focusing less on creating traditional, operatic stereotypes and more on developing characters with real emotions in heightened circumstances relatable to today’s audience,” Lefkowich shares in the press release. “For one, ours is a modern interpretation of Tonio. He’s usually played as the unwitting fool, but here, he’s truly the ringmaster. He takes what he wants. And when he is rebuffed, he uses anger and violence to change the circumstances to his advantage.” He continues: “This is a fully immersive experience before, during and after the show. The audience is part of a community sharing joy, amazement and tragedy in an experience jammed full of action.”

Mexican tenor Rafael Rojas will star as Canio, alongside soprano Lauren Michelle in her BLO debut as Nedda. They will be joined by Tobias Greenhalgh as Silvio, Michael Mayes as Tonio, and Omar Najmi as Beppe. Music Director David Angus will lead the BLO Orchestra.

Five performances will be held at the North End’s Steriti Memorial Rink from Sept. 27 – Oct. 6, 2019.