This month, West Australian Opera presents Cav & Pag– the tried and true pairing of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticanaand Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, two short operas telling taut tales of adultery, simmering passions and fatal jealousy.

In something of a coup, Emma Matthews is making her role debut as Nedda in Pagliacci.In Leoncavallo’s opera, a travelling theatre troupe stage a comedy about a husband who is betrayed by his beautiful, flirtatious wife. But life imitates art when Canio (who plays the on-stage husband Pagliaccio) suspects his spouse Nedda (who plays Pagliaccio’s spouse Colombina) of infidelity, and comedy turns to tragedy.

Emma Matthews

Matthews, who is known for her lovely, distinctive, lyric coloratura voice, is Australia’s most awarded soprano with seven Helpmanns to her name. In 2018, she stepped back from her singing career and moved back to Perth, where she had spent time growing up, to take up the role of Senior Lecture, Classical Voice and Opera Studies at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

She has sung in various WA Opera gala...