Leoncavallo's often-performed short opera uses the play-within-a play device to explore the classic operatic themes of passion, adultery, jealousy and revenge. The great tenor aria, Vesti la giubba, expresses the anguish of the cuckolded husband who, as a perfroming clown, must make others laugh even as his heart is breaking. Zeffirelli's production is set in a contemporary urban environment, with fire eaters, children, animals, jugglers and acrobats. Placido Domingo, showing that he is arguably the finest actor- tenor of our time, gives a difinitive performance as Canio.
Recorded live at the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts Opera House in November 1997.