Ruggiero Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci was his first opera to be performed. The text, by the composer, is based on one of the cases encountered by Leoncavallo's father, a police magistrate in Naples. The actual case concerned a middle-aged actor who murdered his unfaithful wife. Leoncavallo sets his sordid subject matter to melodic material of high quality and great variety. The heart-rending aria 'Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto!' (Laugh and be merry, though your love betrayed you), has become the most famous number from the opera.