June 12, 1978 12:00 PM

Placido Domingo

Caruso was Pagliacci. He even stole the opera’s dramatic final line—”La commedia è finita”—which was originally written for another member of the cast. Since then the role of the cuckolded, heartbroken and eventually murderous clown Canio has been sung by nearly every good tenor in the world. The recent PBS telecast of a Metropolitan Opera production with Placido Domingo in the title role stirred new interest in this 1972 version. On this RCA album Domingo is backed up by Montserrat Caballe, Sherrill Milnes and the London Symphony Orchestra, and the result is lovely. Domingo sings with a great passion that makes Canio’s anguish believable. The LP also restores three sizable cuts which opera companies have traditionally made in the score. On the album’s fourth side are six arias from other Leoncavallo operas—-Zazà, Chatterton and La Bohème. Yes, Leoncavallo set to music the same story of Parisian bohemians used by Puccini, but it has never enjoyed anywhere near the same popularity. Rightly so, it would seem.

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