West Australian Opera’s Ghost Light Opera delivers Pagliacci

The West Australian Opera has released the first of their Ghost Light Opera series with Paul O’Neill singing Vesti la Giubba from Pagliacci.

The opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo first premiered in 1892 and is the only one of the composers works that is still regularly performed.

The opera is usually presented as a double-bill alongside Cavalleria rusticana by Pietro Mascagni, the combination of two colloqually known as ‘Cav and Pag’.  WA Opera had planned to present the works as part of their 2020 season.

The choice of Vesti la Giubba is apt for today’s circumstances, appearing at the end of the opera’s first act, Canio discovers the devastating news of his wife’s infiedlity, but still he must don his makeup and appear as the clown Pagliaccio, because ‘the show must go on.’


Ghost Light Opera is a new initiative from the Western Australian company. Carolyn Chard, Executive Director of West Australian Opera explained the new program.

“Ghost Light Opera will enable the experience of beautiful music to transcend from the stage of His Majesty’s Theatre and into your home wherever you are. A light – a ghost light – is left on the stage when the theatre is unoccupied and would otherwise be completely dark.

“In a difficult environment with limited social gathering and isolation measures in place, West Australian Opera’s Ghost Light Opera will provide a platform for everyone to engage with the state opera company despite empty seats and closed venues. We can still connect with each other, we can still share the power of music and try to help heal the soul in challenging times” Chard said.

Future editions of Ghost Light Opera will be feature soprano Emma Matthews, mezzo soprano Fiona Campbell and baritone James Clayton, all accompanied by Tommaso Pollio.

OIP Staff

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