Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Pagliacci on film

Free registration for the digital film screening available now

CHICAGO (8/18/2021) - Lyric Opera of Chicago announced this week that registration is now open for audiences to secure a free link to screen the new, original film production of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, filmed at the Lyric Opera House. Audiences can now secure a free, on-demand viewing of this gripping production for screenings that begin tomorrow, August 19. Reservations are available at

This production was directed by Peter McClintock, with film direction by Matt Hoffman, and conducted by Lyric’s Music Director Enrique Mazzola, featuring members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus. The film stars tenor Russell Thomas/Canio, soprano Ailyn Pérez/Nedda, baritone Quinn Kelsey/Tonio (Ryan Opera Center alumnus), baritone Lucas Meachem/Silvio, and tenor Eric Ferring/Beppe (Ryan Opera Center alumnus). The Lyric Opera Chorus was prepared by Lyric Chorus Master Michael Black. Scenic design is by Maria DeFabo Akin and Scott Wolfson with lighting design by Chris Maravich and costume design by Scott Marr.

Pagliacci was instrumental in bringing a new realism to opera, and it deals in primary-color emotions — longing, jealousy, revenge. At the center of the opera is Canio, manager and leading man of an ensemble of actors. In the theater where they’re going to perform, his wife, Nedda, the leading lady, falls in love with Silvio, one of the stagehands. He begs her to run away with him after the performance that night. When Canio finds out, his jealousy leads to the tragic conclusion.

Lyric’s film of Pagliacci is inspired by classics from the first Golden Age of television. During the show-within-the-show, the film’s aspect ratio is adjusted and images become black and white, evocative of shows like The Honeymooners.

“Filming Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci provided us the opportunity to think about the opera in a completely new way,” says Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director, president & CEO. “While we’re thrilled about Lyric’s upcoming live operas, Lyric remains committed to virtual and accessible operatic programming. We are also eager to find unique and innovative ways of reaching new operatic audiences and this filmed opera is a perfect example.”

Registration is now open to access the Pagliacci film screening and more information about the production is available at

About Lyric

About Lyric

Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to redefining what it means to experience great opera. The company is driven to deliver consistently excellent artistry through innovative, relevant, celebratory programming that engages and energizes new and traditional audiences.

Under the leadership of General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud, Music Director Enrique Mazzola, and Special Project Advisor Renée Fleming, Lyric is dedicated to reflecting, and drawing strength from, the diversity of Chicago. Lyric offers, through innovation, collaboration, and evolving learning opportunities, ever-more exciting, accessible, and thought-provoking audience and community experiences. We also stand committed to training the artists of the future, through The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center; and to becoming increasingly diverse across our audiences, staff, programming, and artists—magnifying the welcoming pull of our art form, our company, and our city.

Through the timeless power of voice, the splendor of a great orchestra and chorus, theater, dance, design, and truly magnificent stagecraft, Lyric is devoted to immersing audiences in worlds both familiar and unexpected, creating shared experiences that resonate long after the curtain comes down.

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Photo: Kyle Flubacker