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.




On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Cavalleria rusticana (TV Movie 1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Turridu is spotted by his wife, Santuzza, returning from the home of his lover, Lola. He is also seen on the road by Lola's husband, Alfio. While he suspects nothing, Santuzza knows exactly... See full summary »

Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Stars: Yelena Obraztsova, Plácido Domingo, Renato Bruson
La traviata (1982)
Drama | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Violetta meets Alfredo and quickly falls for him. After the lovers run away together, they live in bliss for a short time. However, Alfredo's father, Giorgio, starts to interfere, concerned... See full summary »

Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Stars: Teresa Stratas, Plácido Domingo, Cornell MacNeil
Otello (1986)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Based on Shakesphere's play, Verdi's opera depicts the devastating effects of jealousy, "...the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds upon". Believing Otello has promoted the... See full summary »

Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Stars: Plácido Domingo, Katia Ricciarelli, Justino Díaz
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

This is a dramatization of events in the life of St. Francis of Assisi from before his conversion experience through his audience with the pope, including his friendship with St. Clare.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Stars: Graham Faulkner, Judi Bowker, Leigh Lawson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Catania, Sicilia 1854. A serious epidemic of cholera is hitting the region. Maria a 16 years old novice leaves her convent and returns her home to avoid contamination. Here she finds a ... See full summary »

Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Stars: Angela Bettis, Johnathon Schaech, Eva Alexander
A Doll's House I (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Nora Helmer has years earlier committed a forgery in order to save the life of her authoritarian husband Torvald. Now she is being blackmailed lives in fear of her husband's finding out and... See full summary »

Director: Patrick Garland
Stars: Claire Bloom, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Richardson
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A fictionalized account of the last days of opera singer Maria Callas (Ardant).

Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Stars: Fanny Ardant, Jeremy Irons, Joan Plowright
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A fanciful biopic of legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini as a very young man.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Stars: C. Thomas Howell, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophie Ward
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Promotional omnibus film, made for the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, featuring portraits of 12 Italian cities.

Directors: Michelangelo Antonioni, Bernardo Bertolucci, and 11 more credits »
Jane Eyre (1996)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Jane Eyre is an orphan cast out as a young girl by her aunt, Mrs. Reed, and sent to be raised in a harsh charity school for girls. There she learns to become a teacher and eventually seeks ... See full summary »

Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Stars: William Hurt, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Anna Paquin
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Brutish, fortune-hunting scoundrel Petruchio tames his wealthy, shrewish wife, Katharina.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Cyril Cusack
Zeffirelli's Inferno (Video 2017)
Animation | Short
Director: Franco Zeffirelli


Credited cast:
Teresa Stratas ...
Juan Pons ...
Alberto Rinaldi ...
Florindo Andreolli ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ivan Del Manto
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) »








Release Date:

4 May 2017 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Der Bajazzo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Version of Cavalleria rusticana (1990) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Must-see performance of a great opera
27 March 2015 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

Pagliacci (1982) (TV) was directed by the great Franco Zeffirelli. It's not a filmed stage performance. It's a movie based on the verismo opera composed and written by Ruggero Leoncavallo in 1892.

For those of you who don't know the plot, I'll summarize it. (If you know the opera, just skip this paragraph.) Canio (Plácido Domingo) is the leader of a group of traveling players. He plays the clown, Pagliacco. His much younger wife, Nedda (Teresa Stratas) is in love with Silvio (Alberto Rinaldi). Tonio (Juan Pons) is a coarse and misshapen member of the company. He lusts after Nedda, but she laughs and humiliates him. The tragic plot unfolds based on these basic elements.

Although Leoncavallo set the story in 1865 - 1870, Zeffirelli has moved the period to what appears to be the 1920's or early 1930's. Unlike Cavalleria Rusticana, which was filmed in a Sicilian village, this movie was clearly filmed on a movie set. There's no real attempt at scenic realism. (However, in fairness, this opera has a closed, very intimate feel. "Opening it up" would probably be a mistake.)

Teresa Stratas was one of the finest lyric sopranos of the 20th Century, and Nedda was one of her greatest roles. In 1982, Stratas was 44, which is much older than the role written for Nedda. However, Stratas was very beautiful and youthful in a slender, ethereal way, and she looks right for the part. Musically, she is perfection.

Domingo was surely one of the greatest tenors in opera history. At 41, he was younger than Canio is supposed to be, but with makeup he fit the role. And, of course, his vocal abilities defy description.

Although the opera has many fine arias and duets, when you think of Pagliacci, you think of the great tenor aria "Vesti la giubba" ("Put on the costume"). This is the classic story of a clown with a painted smile, whose heart is breaking. Even if you think you don't enjoy operatic music, you will still be moved by this aria.

The movie works well on a small screen. We saw it on DVD, and it was wonderful. It's packaged with another one-act opera—Cavalleria rusticana. These two operas are typically shown together in opera houses as well. Opera lovers call them "Cav and Pag." Usually they are shown with Cavalleria first, followed by Pagliacci. That's the order I would suggest if you watch them on DVD.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: