More than a century after premiering in Milan, Leoncavallo's PAGLIACCI remains a staple of the masterworks repertoire for its riveting dramatic storytelling, lush orchestration, and scintillating vocal writing. Pagliacci tells the story of a traveling commedia dell’arte acting troupe comprised of four vagabond performers: the troupe leader Canio, his listless and dissatisfied wife Nedda, the fool Tonio, and the young, idealistic Beppe. Each character represents an archetype of the commedia dell’arte style, and the troupe performs a play-within-the-play which culminates in a fiery confrontation between Canio, Nedda, and Nedda’s secret lover, Silvio. Pagliacci will be directed by Opera Memphis General Director Ned Canty and conducted by Director of the Handorf Company Artist Program Cris Frisco. Leoncavallo's stunning melodrama takes center stage at the Clark Opera Memphis Center with performances on October 22, 23, 29, and 30.

Meet the Cast

Joshua Conyers, baritone - Tonio

Baritone Joshua Conyers has been hailed by Opera News for his “deliciously honeyed baritone that would seduce anyone” and The New York Times as having “a sonorous baritone” that “wheedled and seduced.”  A native of Bronx, NY, he is quickly being championed for his captivating performances and continues to be recognized as one of the promising young dramatic voices of today. Equally active in contemporary opera, Mr. Conyers performed the role of Jason in the world premiere of Matt Boehler’s 75 Miles, and Uncle Wesley in Carlos Simon’s Night Trip for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative. Additionally, he covered the roles of Mr. Umeya in the American premiere of Huang Ruo's Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in Mandarin Chinese, and Walt Whitman in the world premiere of Theodore Morrison's Oscar, both with the Santa Fe Opera. Last season, he was seen as Eustis in Le maréchal ferrant with Opera Lafayette, Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte with Aspen Opera Theater, and joined Atlanta Opera as Tonio in Pagliacci, Tiger Brown in The Threepenny Opera and the cover of Kaiser Overall in Der Kaiser von Atlantis. In the 2021-2022 season, Mr. Conyers makes his Seattle Opera debut as Policeman 3/Congregant 3 in Tesori’s Blue, sings Reginald in Anthony Davis’ X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X with Michigan Opera Theatre, Schaunard in La bohème with Annapolis Opera, and debuts with Opera Memphis as Tonio in Pagliacci.


Chanáe Curtis, soprano - Nedda

American Soprano Chanáe Curtis, originally hailing from Washington, D.C.—known for her “noble and lyrical tone, with gleaming high notes” (Washington Classical Review) —makes her company and role debut in this upcoming season as Nedda in Pagliacci with Opera Memphis. Recent engagements include Léontine in L’amant Anonyme as a Filene Artist at Wolf Trap Opera, a debut at The Metropolitan Opera as Annie in their 2019/2020 production of Porgy and Bess, Anna Gomez in The Consul (Welsh National Opera), Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro (Central City Opera Matinee Performance), and Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff under Maestro Carlo Rizzi at The Sherman Theatre in Cardiff, Wales. Concert highlights include Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Royal Welsh College Symphony Orchestra at St David’s Hall, Strauss’ Morgen for HRH the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace (London), and the Te Deum from Verdi’s Four Sacred Pieces with the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder, broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Awards include the prestigious Pathfinder Award from the Arts Council of Wales, the Eileen Lieder Prize and the Dolan Evans award from RWCMD, and the Rotary Club Prize in the ‘Citta di Alcamo’ International Singing Competition in Italy. Other notable performances include Fiordiligi in Così fan Tutte (Oberlin in Italy Festival), the Forester’s Wife/Mrs. Pasek in The Cunning Little Vixen and Lady Billows in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring (Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama). Ms. Curtis holds a BA from Ashland University (Ashland, OH), an MM from Manhattan School of Music (New York City), and has completed the M.A. Opera Course with Distinction at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) in Cardiff.


Alex DeSocio, baritone - Silvio

Described by The New York Times as having a “buttery, booming baritone," Alex DeSocio (Wichita, KS), received his BM in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University and his MM at the University of Maryland with the Maryland Opera Studio under the tutelage of Leon Major and Dominic Cossa. He is a former young artist of Opera Colorado, a former resident artist with Pittsburgh Opera, and a 2-time alumnus of the Merola Opera Program. He is also the only opera singer certified as an Actor Combatant in The Society of American Fight Directors. Alex has worked in regional opera companies including, Sarasota Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Birmingham, Pensacola Opera, Anchorage Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, Opera Memphis, Opera Fort Collins, Livermore Valley Opera, Castleton Festival, Opera Santa Barbara, and the Pacific Opera Project. Professional role experience includes Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Marcello and Schaunard in La Boheme, Lescaut in Manon, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Count in Le nozze di Figaro, Ramiro in L’heure espangnole, Dandini in La Cenerentola, and Morales in Carmen.


Daniel Massey, tenor - Beppe

Daniel Massey is currently in his sixth year as choir director at White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee. Originally from Carriere, MS, Massey began his studies at Pearl River Community College, earned a bachelor's degree in music education from William Carey University, and continued to Southern Mississippi for his master's degree in choral conducting. Massey’s stage experience includes performances in both musical theater and opera productions at The University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey University, the University of South Alabama, and Opera Memphis. At White Station, Massey directs the choirs with his longtime friend, Joseph Powell. Massey is currently a staff singer at Grace St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.



Dane Suarez, tenor - Canio

Praised for his “big, heroic voice” and “powerful emotions,” tenor Dane Suarez has developed an exciting and varied career. In the winter of 2020, Mr. Suarez returned to West Bay Opera to perform the role of Macduff in their production of Macbeth. For the remainder of the 2020 season, he was scheduled to reprise the role of Rodolfo in La bohème with Fort Worth Opera (COVID19), perform the title role in Faust with Opera Neo (COVID19), and make his role debut as Manrico in Il Trovatore with Opera in the Heights (COVID19 – rescheduled until fall 2021). In the summer of 2020, Mr. Suarez was thrilled to perform the role of First Armored Man in Opera Neo’s innovative digital production of The Magic Flute. In 2021, Mr. Suarez returned to Opera Memphis as a tenor soloist in concert and performed the roles of Tamino in The Magic Flute and Antonin Scalia in Scalia / Ginsburg. He also joined the Memphis Symphony Orchestra for The Magic of Memphis, joined Maryland Opera for a concert, will sing Canio in Opera Memphis’ production of Pagliacci, and was slated to perform the role of Don José in Carmen in with Festival Opera (COVID19 – rescheduled to 2023). Mr. Suarez’s 2019 season included his role and house debut as Fenton in Falstaff with West Bay Opera, a return to Opera San José as Greenhorn in Moby-Dick, reprising the role of Erik in Der Fliegende Holländer with Baltimore Concert Opera, and his mainstage debut as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Opera San José.


Production photos by Ziggy Mack