Magazine article Opera Canada

Puccini la Rondine

Magazine article Opera Canada

Puccini la Rondine

Article excerpt

GHEORGHIU, MULA, ALAGNA, MATTEUZZI; LONdon Symphony Orchestra & London Voices, Antonio Pappano, conductor. EMI 7243 5 56338 2 8 (2 CDs). *****

LA RONDINE CAN SOMETIMES SEEM A MONGREL among Puccini's creations. Premiered in 1917, the work was his response to a Viennese commission to write an operetta, a task he undertook by combining plot elements from both La Traviata and La Boheme with farce flourishes from Die Fledermaus. In all but optimum conditions, La Rondine appears a work divided against itself, bitty, half-hearted, superficial. This remarkable new EMI recording, however, is infused with such tremendous conviction that Puccini's real achievements are heard in a fresh way. Wonderfully conducted by Antonio Pappano, La Rondine emerges as a bittersweet operatic novella, rich with musical invention and genuine feeling.

As with his recent EMI La Boheme, Pappano captures the youthful spirit of Puccini with a light touch, sparkling rhythms and a marvellous ear for telling orchestral detail. He handles the big moments as deftly as he does the intimate ones, revealing the unity of the piece through its gently understated, but telling, sentiments.

The performance is blessed with a lovely cast. …

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