August 19, 2021

Behind the scenes of Pagliacci

If you're craving operatic drama in the comfort of your own home, then look no further! Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, an original Lyric film, is now available free of charge for virtual streaming. Directed by Peter McClintock, with film direction by Matt Hoffman (of Chicago's HMS Media), the opera stars tenor Russell Thomas/Canio, soprano Ailyn Pérez/Nedda, baritone Quinn Kelsey/Tonio, baritone Lucas Meachem/Silvio, and tenor Eric Ferring/Beppe. The starry cast, along with the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus, are led by Lyric's new music director Enrique Mazzola. 

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.

Keep scrolling to see a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of this new production and reserve your tickets to the free digital stream:

Watch Pagliacci


Maestro Enrique Mazzola conducts the Lyric Opera Orchestra, during the recording of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.

Tenor Russell Thomas, seen here during the sitzprobe (seated rehearsal), makes his role debut as Canio in Lyric's production of Pagliacci.

Recent Ryan Opera Center alumnus Eric Ferring returns to Lyric as Beppe.

Chorus Master Michael Black prepares the Lyric Opera Chorus during rehearsals of Pagliacci. For many chorus members, this was the first time back in the opera house in more than a year!

Rehearsal costumes hang on a rack on the set of Pagliacci.

Maestro Mazzola discusses a passage with soprano Ailyn Pérez (Nedda) during the audio recording session of Pagliacci.

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.

Director Peter McClintock discusses a scene with baritone Lucas Meachem (Silvio) during the filming of Pagliacci.

Tenor Russell Thomas (Canio) and soprano Ailyn Pérez (Nedda) share a laugh between takes.

Ryan Opera Center alumnus Quinn Kelsey (Tonio) begins the show-within-a-show by playing the drum. Here he perfects the timing with Maestro Mazzola.

The final scene of Pagliacci, filmed from multiple angles.

Experience the intense drama and stunning music of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci with our free, on-demand film. Reserve your tickets and learn more about the production at

All photos: Kyle Flubacker