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.
Since the opera's first performance in 1892, this aria in particular has ingrained itself well into popular culture, and has often been featured in many renditions, mentions, and spoofs over the years. The 1904 recording by Enrico Caruso was the first million-selling record in history.
Act! While in delirium,
I no longer know what I say,
or what I do!
And yet it's necessary... make an effort!
Bah! Are you not a man?
You are a clown!
Put on your costume,
powder your face.
The people pay to be here, and they want to laugh.
And if harlequin shall steal your Columbina,
laugh, clown, so the crowd will cheer!
Turn your distress and tears into jest,
your pain and sobbing into a funny face - Ah!
at your broken love!
Laugh at the grief that poisons your heart!
This is a render I made a few years ago, using a texture I handpainted and offer as a freebie below.
This is a poser freebie inspired by the opera. It's just the face texture, fit for Michael 3. You need Michael 3 and Poser to use this freebie!