The granddaddy of all stories about clowns who laugh on the inside while crying on the outside, Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci presents a case of life imitating art too closely.

The granddaddy of all stories about clowns who laugh on the inside while crying on the outside, Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci presents a case of life imitating art too closely. It's about a performer who must joke on stage while his heart's being ripped out by the unfaithful wife who's also his co-star in a play about infidelity. The late-19th-century work is now such a popular choice among performers and audiences, it's been a go-to opera reference for shows like The Simpsons and Seinfeld. Opera Columbus offers their version this weekend, accompanied by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.