Rondine

An opera by Puccini performed by the Met. Need I say more?

No, but I will anyhow (surprise, surprise). OK, it’s not Bohème, Butterfly, or Tosca. But in my opinion it ranks right up there with Turandot, Trittico, Girl of the Golden West, or Manon Lescaut. Which is to say that I enjoyed it and plan to go again Wednesday 1/21.

CAST (more info at metoperafamily.org)

Conductor: Marco Armiliato
Magda: Angela Gheorghiu
Lisette: Lisette Oropesa
Ruggero: Roberto Alagna
Prunier: Marius Brenciu
Rambaldo: Samuel Ramey

The leading singers, Gheorghiu and Alagna, are real-life wife and husband. Judging by the way they played the love scenes on stage, it must be a happy marriage. A little extra that we MetHDers get is the backstage view just before one of the acts. Gheorghiu is going on stage to be there when the curtain goes up, and Alagna gives her a friendlly pat on the rump as she passes him.

It took me a while to sort out my feelings seeing Samuel Ramey in the minor part of Magda’s rich patron. He played the part to perfection and his rich bass voice sounded wonderful, but I still vividly remember him as dashing and athletic in Boito’s Mefistofele. I know it’s great when a man can be so much and contribute so much 20 years after his prime, but still . . .

The one down point Saturday was that the sound system conked out for the two interviews during the intermission. It was frustrating to see the animated faces of Renée Fleming and the two singers who were obviously having a good time – and not hear a word they were saying! Jerry – Sara – anyone else: did you have this problem? I’m curious if the fault were at the source or in the particular transmission to Mountain View. And, of course, I’m hoping against hope that it won’t be present again next Wednesday!

Philip

PS. While browsing the Met’s website I came across a light-hearted quiz which promised to tell you what opera would be your favorite. They told me my favorite should be Don Giovanni because:

For you, life is a jilting combination of subtleties and rough hammer-blows. But you’re not one to shy away from these chiaroscuro extremes. With your combination of delicate intellect and animal passion, you can handle life’s endless surprises. Mozart and his librettist Da Ponte expected no less from their audience when they created their masterpiece about the world’s greatest lover, Don Giovanni. You will be one of the few who are equally comfortable with the refined poetry and the unbridled eroticism of this ultimate operatic achievement.

Wow! – – ph

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