Il Tabarro and Pagliacci

Giacomo Puccini's Il Tabarro and Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci are classics of Italian verismo. The style blew into the opera house near the turn of the 20th century, and the fat lady hasn't been the same since. The plots and characters in verismo - "realism" - weren't inspired by actual events any more than the classical fables about the hissy fits of gods and goddesses were, but the blood and grit were fairly startling in music's staid atmosphere. Needless to say, audiences ate up the sex and violence. Il Tabarro and Pagliacci, presented by Opera in the Heights, can still blow the roof off when done properly. Puccini and Leoncavallo's tuneful melodramas both deal with wifely adultery and the consequences when the husband finds out. The end results are the same, no matter what century. It's powerful stuff. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Through October 3. Opera in the Heights, 1703 Heights Boulevard. For information, call 713-861-5303 or visit $35 to $45.
Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays. Starts: Sept. 24. Continues through Oct. 3, 2009