"Pagliacci" by Ruggero Leoncavallo, conductor: Georges Prêtre, stage director: Franco Zeffirelli. With Teresa Stratas (Nedda), Plácido Domingo (Canio), Juan Pons (Tonio), Chorus & Orchestra of La Scala, Milan. "Pagliacci" is often celebrated as one of the finest examples of verismo, or realist opera. It is even based on a true story: Leoncavallo's father, a judge, once presided over the trial of an actor who, in a fit of jealousy, murdered his wife immediately following a performance. Franco Zeffirelli, the great stage and film director, has been infusing the operatic repertoire with grace, elegance and poignancy.