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Laughter and Tears

Palais Theatre
13 Aug 2016 - 18 Aug 2016

A spellbinding mix of circus and singing, featuring Circus Oz

Olivier Award winner Emil Wolk directs the captivating tragedy Pagliacci in the highly anticipated collaboration between Victorian Opera and Circus Oz that features two connecting episodes, 'Laughter' and 'Tears'. 

'Laughter' is set during the 40s in a small Italian town and serves as a unique prologue to the tragic events of Pagliacci. A troupe of military entertainers prepares to perform a comedy of forbidden love for the local townspeople, complete with feats of physical acrobatics and beautiful singing. In 'Tears' (Pagliacci), the curtain comes down on this whimsical theatre as the offstage lives of the performers unravel following the revelation of a secret affair.

Extraordinary artists shining a new light on the power of I Pagliacci

The dramatic intensity of Pagliacci is indisputable. Canio’s show-stopping aria ‘Vesti la giubba’ (‘Put on the costume’) has been immortalised by some of the world’s greatest singers. Now formidable Australian tenor Rosario La Spina gives new voice to Canio following his critically acclaimed performance as Pollione in Victorian Opera’s Norma (2014).  

Star soprano Elvira Fatykhova performs the role of the restless Nedda, while Victorian Opera’s own Richard Mills conducts. Director Emil Wolk, fresh from consulting on the Metropolitan Opera’s recent production of Pagliacci, directs this unique double bill of circus and opera that redefines Leoncavallo’s captivating tragedy.

Opera at the Palais

Victorian Opera returns to The Palais following The Flying Dutchman (2015) as part of its commitment to bringing the breathtaking experience of large scale opera to an iconic heritage theatre with incredible acoustics.


Featuring Arie Antiche
Composers Vecchi, Banchieri and various


Featuring I Pagliacci
Composer Ruggero Leoncavallo
Librettist Ruggero Leoncavallo



Palais Theatre 

Saturday 13 August 2016   7:30pm
Tuesday 16 August 2016    7:30pm
Thursday 18 August 2016   7:30pm

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Victorian Opera's 2016 production of Laughter and Tears. Photo: Jeff Busby

Cast & Crew

Creative team

Conductor Richard Mills
Director Emil Wolk
Set Design Julie Nelson
Costume Design Harriet Oxley
Lighting Design Eduard Ingles Sancho


Stage Hand/Columbine Kate Fryer
Stage Hand Geoff Dunstan
Stage Hand DJ Garner
Stage Hand Luke Taylor
Arlequinno/Beppe Michael Petruccelli
Minstrel Kate Amos
Minstrel Daniel Carison
Minstrel Michelle McCarthy
Minstrel Shakira Tsindos
Capitano/Stage Hand Tim Coldwell
Nedda Elvira Fatyknova
Canio Rosario La Spina
Tonio James Clayton
Silvio Fabio Capitanucci

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Chorus

Orchestra Victoria



“★★★★☆ The collaboration between VO and Circus Oz was one of those remarkable instances of artistic stars perfectly aligning.”

“★★★★ This is not simply another opera performance: it is something to make you reflect and rejoice as well as laugh and cry.”

“Victorian Opera’s Laughter and Tears sets an exciting new standard for imaginative programming.”

A co-production of

Victorian Opera and State Opera of South Australia, presented in association with Circus Oz