'I Pagliacci' opens Opera in Heights season

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
By Don Maines

Soprano Julia Engel and Tenor James Chamberlain, Photo by Carl Cramer. 

Soprano Julia Engel and Tenor James Chamberlain, Photo by Carl Cramer. 

A single cast was announced Aug. 24 for "I Pagliacci (The Clowns)," which opens the 20th season of Opera in the Heights Sept. 18 at Lambert Hall.

The 1892 "comic thriller" by Ruggero Leoncavallo will be performed four times, in contrast to the usual seven performances, with double-casting, of each opera in recent seasons, said Mariam Khalili, the group's executive director since January.

"The change will allow Opera in the Heights to better focus its financial resources, while enhancing the artistic quality of each of the four productions," said Khalili.

"I Pagliacci" will star James Chamberlain as Canio, which was a signature role of opera great Enrico Caruso. Canio leads a commedia dell'arte troupe that includes his wife, Nedda. Her adultery is revealed in the opera's comic play-within-a-play.

Joining Chamberlain will be Donata Cucinotta as Nedda, James Rodriguez as Tonio, Jeremiah Johnson as Silvio and Dashiell Waterbury as Beppe.

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