Jan Michael Kliewer appears on Wednesday as Tonio in the dress rehearsal for Pagliacci at the NOVA Center for Performing Arts in Billings.
MIKE CLARK, Billings Gazette
There’s murder, betrayal, tragedy, and humor, but that’s not your standard Pagliacci.
The late 19th century Italian opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo, presented by Rimrock Opera at the NOVA Center for the Performing Arts, has received a new accent. The production’s traditional sad clown has been replaced by the Joker – you will no doubt recognize the garish villain from the Batman franchise – and is set in a somber steampunk style in modern times. Graffiti backdrops created by Tyson Middle of Underground Culture Krew help highlight this more modern approach.
Directed by Michelle Berger, the production features opera singers from across the United States, including Boston, Washington, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Sandi Rabas is the musical director and pianist.
“This is not your usual production of Pagliacci,” said Berger, inviting the audience to let themselves be carried away by this strange world with “beautiful voices, talented actors and a story of unrequited love and passion, twisted agony and murderous jealousy”.
Pagliacci, the Italian word for clown, is known to be a piece in a piece (tragedy, comedy, surprise – it has it all), which shows a dramatic story of love and betrayal. There is a lot of drama, infidelity, revenge and tragedy among the cast. It is also known as the “Commedia dell’arte Troupe,” a form of Italian comedy that was popular during the Renaissance.