La rondine, Opera by G. Puccini
La rondine ranks among Giacomo Puccini’s lesser known operas. However, its somewhat limited popularity has little to do with the quality of the work. As usual, the Maestro approached the score with all his creativity and musical invention. The arias and rhythms that drive the opera sound fresh and vibrant even today, as guests of Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence will experience this season. La rondine (or The Swallow in English) had its premiere on 27 March 1917 at Grand Théâtre de Monte-Carlo. The ongoing World War I got in the way of the opera’s popularity and, despite the audience’s and critics’ very positive reviews, it remains one of the hidden gems in Puccini’s rich catalogue. This season, Maggio Fiorentino will reacquaint you with La rondine!
Puccini began working on the score in 1914, with a libretto by Giuseppe Adami. His plan to create an entertaining opera in three acts stretched over the next two years, with periods of inspiration and creative stillstand alternating constantly. The plot of La rondine takes us to mid-19th-century Paris and centres on the courtesan Magda who finds true love after fate brings Ruggero into her life. The young visitor awakens memories of her past romances. Disguised as ‘Pauletta’, the courtesan follows Ruggero into the chic night club Bullier’s where the two immediately fall in love. Soon enough, Magda is compelled to leave her long-time protector Rambaldo and start a new life with her beloved on the French Riviera.
On the wings of their love, ‘Pauletta’ and Ruggero spend some magical months by the sea, but the deception begins to weigh heavily on the former courtesan’s heart. Will she find the strength to confess her true identity to the man she loves and face the uncertainty of his reaction, or will she quietly fly back to her old life in Paris, like a swallow always returns to warm climates? With Puccini’s modern-sounding, tango-inspired score and Adami’s dramatic lyricism, La rondine really is a lost gem that Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino brings back to the stage.