"You must prepare yourselves to witness the passions of real men and women!"
Tonio's Prologue could be the manifesto of the verismo movement. The quintessential opera of that genre, "Pagliacci" is all the more shocking and poignant in this electrifying English performing translation.
"Play your part, while you're writhing in torment! You won't know what you're doing, or what you're saying. It must be done! Force youself! Are you not a man? No, just a clown!
Put on your costume and whiten your face. The people pay you and must be entertained. And when Arlecchino steals your Colombina, smile and play the fool, and they will all applaud. Just make a joke of your tears and anguish. Conceal your grief and your sobs with a grin. For you are Pagliaccio. Though your life has been shattered, laugh through the pain that is stabbing your heart!"