Opera Spanga

Costume design 2019



In the summer of 2019, Opera Spanga brings the two short operas Pagliacci and Il Tabarro to the Friesian village of Spanga. These masterpieces were composed round the turn of the 19th century, and deals with a theme that leaves no soul untouched: female infidelity. The women are driven to adultery not by their wild libidos, but by an irrepresible desire to redefine themselves! In both operas the couples are inextricably linked both emotionally and financially. They work and travel together, and their past and present are intertwined.

Opera Spanga combines nature and culture. The performances take place in a half open tent in a Friesian meadow. This beautiful setting in the nature, combined with daring staging, remarkable scenery, imaginative lighting and interesting costumes ensures that these two operas are guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.

A theatre troupe is met enthusiastically by their fans. Canio, an actor but also the director of the troupe, explains to the fans what they can expect from the evening’s performance. The villagers invite the actors to have a drink with them. Tonio turns down the offer, saying that he prefers to remain alone. Someone half-jokingly comments that Tonio stays behind as he is pursuing Nedda, Canio’s wife. Canio doen’t see the humour in the joke. In the play, infidelity goes unpunished, but should it happen in real life, Canio warns, he will show no mercy towards the man making advances on his wife.

Nedda, alone, sings that that she wishes for freedom, but that she is afraid of her husband. Tonio, seizing his opportunity to be alone with Nedda, declares his love by trying to rape her. She manages to fight Tonio off, but he promises revenge.

Silvio arrives. He radiates youth, freedom, tenderness. Nedda falls for him. Tonio, who secretly witnesses this, informs a distraught Canio. Tonio manages to calm him down by instructing him to get ready to go on stage. He dresses for his role whilst his jealousy builds and builds. Nedda collects money from the crowd and warns Silvio that her husband knows of their affair.

The play begins: a farcial comedic drama about infidelity. Canio plays the role of the cuckolded Pagliacco from his own, deeply troubled perspective. Truth transcends fiction, and the play is so sincere and impassioned that the public is hugely enthusiastic. It is only at the moment that Canio fatally stabs Nedda that everyone realises that a tragedy has taken place. Canio then murders the lover, Silvio.

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