This is so worth watching for Jon Vickers' performance!
I have performed in this opera in the chorus, and the music by underrated composer Leoncavallo is of dark and lyrical beauty. I am 17, and a passionate classical music lover, and I loved this version of the opera. This version of the classic opera, of love, death, jealousy and heartache is one of the best versions of the opera, with the Placido Domingo version a close contender. Herbert Von Karajan was a fantastic conductor, and he conducted the orchestra here with power that I have never seen him have, even in documentaries about him. He is the best conductor of Beethoven and Wagner, just saying that for context. The photography was just jaw-dropping, especially in the play scene. Now for the performers. As I've said, this is well worth watching just for the outstanding performance of Jon Vickers as Canio. He sang "Vesti La Guibba" with such feeling, though I actually cried when Enrico Caruso sang the aria. But his best scene, was easily when he comes on as the clown Pagliaccio in make up and a white costume. When he accused Nedda of loving another man, and telling her she deserved to die, before killing her, Vickers' stage presence terrified me, he just looked so menacing. The Bulgarian soprano Raina Kaibaivanska(I must apologise for the spelling) was also impressive as Nedda, a woman bullied by her husband, Canio. She expressed sheer panic in the play scene, and sang the aria "His eyes were filled with anger" with such sensitivity. Her duet with Rolando Penairi as her lover Silvio was beautiful, with Leoncavallo at his most lyrical. As the complex and much-ridiculed hunchback Tonio, Peter Glossop positively shone, with his pale blue eyes looking directly at you with such sadness in the prologue. There are times when you feel sorry for Tonio, but there are other times, like when he tries to hurt Nedda, and when he betrays her, when it is very easy to hate him. In conclusion, a brilliant production of a much underrated opera. If I had one minor criticism, is that in the Act 2 chorus, there is a weak entry in the sopranos. Other than that, 10/10 Bethany Cox
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