Thursday, January 22, 2009

La Rondine in HD

Metropolitan Opera HD Broadcast
La Rondine – Puccini
Originally broadcast Saturday, January 10, 2009 (1:00 pm ET)

Conductor: Marco Armiliato
Production: Nicolas Joël
Angela Gheorghiu, Lisette Oropesa, Roberto Alagna, Marius Brenciu, Samuel Ramey

I really like this opera after seeing the film version of the San Francisco Opera production last year. I'm surprised by how much it moves me. Something about Magda's unworkable attempt to regain a lost moment of her life really gets to me. Maybe it's all about the timing. I doubt I would have had any interest in the story if I had encountered it 10 years ago.

I missed the live broadcast from the Met a couple of weeks back when it was sold out. Instead I made it to the repeat on Wednesday evening. On this second hearing I liked the music of the first 2 acts even more, though I admit the music of the 3rd act is a bit weak. At least the 3rd act has the virtue of being brief where it cannot be good.

This is the same gorgeous production as the one in San Francisco. The cast is different except for Angela Gheorghiu. Before the performance Peter Gelb announced that Gheorghiu was going on in spite of a cold. Her lower notes did sound dry, especially at the start, but otherwise she seemed to do fine. There's definitely an on-stage intimacy between her & her husband Alagna.

Lisette Oropesa & Marius Brenciu were excellent singer-actors as the young lovers Lisette & Prunier. I found myself preferring Brenciu's tenor voice to Alagna's. Brenciu did have a tiny, forgivable break in his voice during Act III. The irony was that during his intermission interview he said that he was being more careful because of the broadcast. Samuel Ramey as Rambaldo looked looked old & sounded wobbly, which added up to a convincing character portrayal.

The repeat broadcasts are not nearly as fun as the live ones, even though it's exactly the same performance. The audience is much sparser & less inclined to applaud & react to the show.

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