✖ All music and images copyrights belong to original artists and distributors.
"Vesti la giubba" ("Put on the costume", sometimes translated as "On With the Motley") is a famous tenor aria from Ruggero Leoncavallo's 1892 opera Pagliacci. "Vesti la giubba" is sung at the conclusion of the first act, when Canio discovers his wife's infidelity, but must nevertheless prepare for his performance as Pagliaccio the clown because "the show must go on".
The aria is often regarded as one of the most moving in the operatic repertoire of the time. The pain of Canio is portrayed in the aria and exemplifies the entire notion of the "tragic clown": smiling on the outside but crying on the inside. This is still displayed today, as the clown motif often features the painted-on tear running down the cheek of the performer.
The 1902 recording of the aria, sung by Enrico Caruso, was the first million-selling record in history.
This aria is often used in popular culture, and has been featured in many renditions, mentions, and spoofs.
Watch videos with other singers performing Vesti la giubba:
Recitar! Mentre preso dal delirio, non so più quel che dico, e quel che faccio! Eppur è d'uopo, sforzati! Bah! sei tu forse un uom? Tu se' Pagliaccio!
Vesti la giubba, e la faccia in farina. La gente paga, e rider vuole qua. E se Arlecchin t'invola Colombina, ridi, Pagliaccio, e ognun applaudirà ! Tramuta in lazzi lo spasmo ed il pianto;Change into laughs the spasms of pain; in una smorfia il singhiozzo il dolor, Ah! Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
English Libretto or Translation:
To recite! While taken with delirium, I no longer know what it is that I say, or what it is that I am doing! And yet it is necessary, force yourself! Bah! Can't you be a man? You are "Pagliaccio"
Put on the costume, and the face in white powder. The people pay, and laugh when they please. and if Harlequin invites away Colombina laugh, Pagliaccio, and everyone will applaud! into a grimace the tears of pain, Ah!
Laugh, Pagliaccio, for your love is broken! Laugh of the pain, that poisons your heart!