‹ Back to What's On Pagliacci (Clowns)

16 Sep - 18 Nov 2017

Ruggero Leoncavallo's shot of pure operatic adrenaline
Part of The Little Greats

In the thrilling curtain-raiser to the season, Leoncavallo carves a ‘bleeding slice of life’ out of the tale of a touring theatre troupe preparing for a show. Canio is eaten up with jealous suspicion of his wife, the leading lady. When he learns the truth of her faithlessness, the performance of the play is derailed by real life passion spun out of control, and the stage becomes the scene of a violent reckoning. Pagliacci is an operatic rollercoaster, hurtling towards a bloody climax that unfolds in front of the shocked on-stage audience.

Strap in tight and get ready to career from laughter to horrified awe as comedy and tragedy collide amidst scintillating melodies. Pagliacci includes some of the most famous music ever written for Italian opera, including the heartbroken Canio’s ‘show must go on’ aria ‘Vesti la giubba’ and Tonio’s Prologue.


Running Time

Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes


Sung in Italian with English titles

The Music

See what else is on the same date and build your own double bill:

Pagliacci / L'enfant et les sortilèges Sat 16 Sep Leeds   
Pagliacci / L'enfant et les sortilèges Sat 23 Sep Leeds Pre-perf Talk
Pagliacci / Cavalleria rusticana Sat 30 Sep Leeds  
Pagliacci / Cavalleria rusticana Thu 12 Oct Leeds Pre-perf Talk
Pagliacci / Osud Wed 18 Oct Leeds Pre-perf Talk
Pagliacci / Cavalleria rusticana Sat 21 Oct Leeds Pre-perf Talk
Pagliacci / Cavalleria rusticana From Thu 26 Oct On tour Fixed double bill

In Leeds, book tickets for individual Little Greats separately. 
View full Leeds performance schedule >> 

What the critics say

It all works remarkably well...Peter Auty plays Canio with focussed, obsessive intensity...Pritchard is a feisty lady and sings Nedda with beauty as well as conviction.

The Arts Desk - Full Review ›

Ingenious...utterly compelling...It is wonderfully conducted by Tobias Ringborg, too.

The Guardian - Full Review ›

...a terrific idea... Both productions make their own intrinsic statements, and there is much to enjoy.

The Telegraph - Full Review ›




The Little Greats: Your Reaction

1 comment

Our season of short operas with huge emotions is now open! See some audience reactions to our first two Little Greats – Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges. Read More

  • Nedda Elin Pritchard (except 8, 11 Nov)
  • Nedda Katie Bird (8, 11 Nov)
  • Canio Peter Auty
  • Tonio Richard Burkhard
  • Peppe Joseph Shovelton
  • Silvio Phillip Rhodes
Creative Team
  • Conductor Tobias Ringborg
  • Director Charles Edwards
  • Set Designer Charles Edwards
  • Costume Designer Gabrielle Dalton
  • Lighting Designer Charles Edwards
  • Movement Director Tim Claydon

Click on the venue below to plan your visit.

Leeds Grand Theatre

Find Us

46 New Briggate
Leeds Grand Theatre

Important Information

Box Office: 0844 848 2720 (calls cost 7ppm)

  • To access the Grand Theatre, there are six steps from the street up to the foyer or a wheelchair lift from the Grand Theatre Box Office to the foyer, and then lift access to the rest of the auditorium (excluding the Upper Balcony). Some areas of the auditorium do have steep stairs and may not be suitable for people with limited mobility. Please check with the Box Office. 
  • There are 6 wheelchair spaces: four in the Stalls and two in the Dress Circle.
  • There are accessible toilets at Stalls and Dress Circle levels. 
  • There is an infra-red system in operation for sound amplification. Headsets are available from the Grand Theatre foyer for a £5 refundable deposit. Please ask Box Office staff when booking for advice on the best seats to use this service. 
  • Support dogs are welcome in the auditorium and can be looked after on request. 
  • For refreshments, there are bars at Stalls, Upper Circle and Balcony levels.  

Choose from these fantastic pre-theatre dining options and make your experience complete!


We have teamed uo with Issho to complete your evening with this Little Greats taster menu, featuring a selection of expertly prepared Japanese dishes, exclusively available for Little Greats ticket holders. Minimum 2 persons, £25 per guest. All dishes will be served in order. Includes a glass of wine or prosecco. 

Download menu | Book a table

Ham & Friends

Ticket holders for Opera North and Howard Assembly Room performances get 10% off food on presentation of ticket or access to an exclusive pre-theatre menu at Ham & Friends, a recently opened kitchen and wine bar in the Grand Arcade, just around the corner from Leeds Grand Theatre. Ticket holders also receive a free glass of prosecco on spending £15 per head. 

Download menu | Book online 

The Alchemist

Opera North ticket holders can enjoy 20% off their food bill at The Alchemist. Located on the second floor of Trinity Shopping Centre, The Alchemist offers a fantastic menu and stunning views of Leeds City Centre. Not available Saturdays. 

Download Menu | Book online 


Manahatta is a recently opened bar and kitchen located on Merrion Street, just a minute's walk from Leeds Grand Theatre. Serving a fantastic New York inspired menu made with fresh local produce, guests will receive 20% off their food bill before 6.15pm with proof of ticket. Booking is required. 

Download Menu | Book online

North Bar

Opera North and Howard Assembly Room ticket holders can enjoy 10% off all drinks at New Briggate's finest craft beer hotspot — North Bar, just a stone's throw from Leeds Grand Theatre. 

Find out more 


Enjoy 15% off all food and drink at authentic Italian wine bar Veeno (Leeds branch only) on presentation of ticket for an Opera North performance. Excludes Fridays and Saturdays after 5.00pm. 

Download Menu | Book a table 

Veritas Ale & Wine Bar

Enjoy a special pre-opera meal at Veritas Ale & Wine Bar. Just a 5-10 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, choose either two courses for £13.95 (£17.50 with a 175ml house wine) or three courses for £15.95 (£19.50 with a 175ml house wine). Available 5.00-6.30pm. Booking is required.

Download Menu | Book via email or call 0113 242 8094 and quote 'pre-opera menu'

Brasserie Blanc

Sample the fabulous pre-theatre menu at Brasserie Blanc and choose from two courses for £11.95 or three courses for £15.45, with a complimentary glass of fizz for Opera North ticket holders. Located just a 10 minute walk from the Leeds Grand Theatre. Available 12.00-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday. 

Download Menu | Book online or call 0113 220 6060

The Reliance

Just a 5 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, The Reliance bar and dining room offers a fantastic pre-theatre menu. Choose from two courses for £14.45 or three courses for £18.90. Available 5.30-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday.

Download Menu


Find Us

Kingston Square


Find Us

Theatre Square

Important Information

Box Office: 0115 989 5555

Find access details for Nottingham Theatre Royal

By Car

Follow signs for the city centre and the 'Royal Zone'. Nearest car parks are Talbot Street car park and Crowne Plaza Hotel car park on Wollaton Street.
For maps and information about on-street parking, off-street car parks, park and ride and the blue badge scheme please visit Parking In Nottingham

By Bus

For bus times call Nottingham City Transport on 0115 950 6070, Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or visit www.travelineeastmidlands.co.uk   Find out about our £1 return bus ticket here.

By Tram

 The 'Royal Centre' tram stop is directly outside the venue and runs every 10 minutes until midnight. There are five Park and Ride sites along the route. Visit www.thetram.net or call 0115 942 7777 for full details of the tram route. Find out about our £1 return tram ticket here.

By Rail

Nottingham Station is a 15 minute walk or a short taxi or tram ride from the venue. Call 0845 748 4950 or www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times and fares. 


Discover exciting pre-theatre dining options for Nottingham Theatre Royal


Find Us

100 Grey Street

Important Information

Box office: 08448 112121


Free Parking in all City Council multi-storey carparks after 5pm.

The two closest car parks to Theatre Royal are the Oxford Street multi-storey (just behind the Laing) and the Dean Street multi-storey. Click here for more info.

There are two parking spaces for blue badge holders on Shakespeare Street and three on Hood Street. Most parking meters are free to Blue Badge Holders.


Alight at Monument Metro Station and follow the signs for the Theatre Royal. We are less than one minutes walk from the Metro entrance on Grey Street.

Travel free on the Metro with your theatre ticket (up to two hours before and after the performance) - simply retain your theatre ticket for inspection by Metro Staff.


The Theatre Royal is only ten minutes walk from Newcastle Central Station.

Salford Quays

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Pier 8
Salford Quays
M50 3AZ

Important Information

Box office: 0843 208 6000 

There is a passenger drop-off point immediately in front of The Lowry. Secure parking is available in The Lowry Outlet Mall multi-storey car park. There are designated areas for disabled parking on every level. 

The Lowry is accessible by train, tram and bus. http://www.tfgm.com/

From national railway stations, Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria you can travel to The Lowry by Metrolink tram. You can board an Eccles line tram and should alight at Harbour City, or Media City UK for trams which stop there, as this is slightly closer.

More info: http://www.thelowry.com/plan-your-visit/getting-here/

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Tonio, an actor, addresses the audience, reminding them that actors too live real lives and have real emotions. 

Act I 
3pm. A troupe of players arrive. Canio, their leader, describes the evening’s play to the people. They tease him about the potential infidelity of his wife, Nedda, and he jealously warns everyone that he will not tolerate other men making advances towards her. Later, Tonio finds Nedda and confesses his love, but she mocks and rejects him. Silvio, Nedda’s real lover, enters and persuades her to elope with him after the performance that evening. Tonio overhears, and in revenge, goes to inform Canio of the plan. Canio returns and sees his wife’s lover escaping, but is unable to uncover his identity. Heartbroken, Canio gets ready for the performance and puts on his costume, because ‘the show must go on’.  

Act II 
That evening. The play begins, and the actors each take up their characters, which all mimic their real-life situations. During the performance, Canio loses control and, stepping out of character, demands to know the name of his wife’s lover. The play’s audience are impressed by his committed performance, but as things progress, realise that he is no longer acting. He grabs a knife and stabs Nedda, who cries out for her lover as she dies. Silvio rushes forward, thus revealing his identity, and is also killed. The audience is horrified as Tonio closes the play with the final line: ‘The comedy is finished’. 

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