Today, on April 13, a premiere show of Ruggiero Leoncavallo’s opera “Pagliacci” takes place. The producer of the play is Vyacheslav Okunev, who is a Russian National Artist. He proposed to move the opera’s tragic plot back in Italy 1950s-style, a time when people began to live a normal life, slowly forgetting about past World War.
“The modern producers tend to dress the classical characters in today’s clothes, we believe that is not quite justified – notes Vyacheslav Okunev, the Russian National Artist – we chose a different path considering the Verism to be a kind of total opera Realism, which appeared in Italy as a result of Puccini’s and Leoncavallo’s work. It was targeting the ordinary people, who associate the high note to the emotional burst and who need the patter easier organized, than it was in the early opera.”
NOVAT’s staging company considers Verism to be very close to Neorealism, a cinematographic movement emerged in Italy after the Second World War. “We consider these two styles to be alike – notes the production designer – that’s why we deliberately moved the action back in 1950s, having all the characters dressed accordingly. At the same time we picture Italy as an ageless country where very few things change. Nowadays one can find the same umbrellas, the same squares hosting the same wandering theatre companies, like we have in our performance.”