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Oh, Philip. I think "La Rondine" is a wonderful opera. The music is gorgeous and the story is just fine. Magda as a character makes perfect sense to me. So what if they are of her own making? Manon Lescaut's problems are of her own making, too. So are Rodolfo and Mimi's. I think "La Rondine" is charming and bittersweet.

There is indeed an alternate ending where Magda commits suicide, but I find it quite heavy-handed and unnecessary. The telecast of the opera from Washington some years ago (with Ainhoa Arteta) used that ending. I don't think it works.


Magda should commit suicide in Act I, immediately after singing the aria. Then Ruggero could run off with Lisette. Curtain.

Manon Lescaut is probably my least favorite character in all opera. But at least in the Massenet version there's the duet at St. Sulpice.

Mimi and Rodolfo are victims of their poverty and of Mimi's illness. They are doomed from the start because their love cannot overcome their circumstances.

RONDINE is too contrived.
"I love you!"
"I used to be a whore!"
"I love you anyway."
"I'm so ashamed."
"Get over it."
"I'm unworthy of your love."
"Well...OK...could you ask Samuel Ramey to put out that cigarette before you leave?"


If the your real issue with the opera is the story - let's talk about "Il Trovatore." There is no more preposterous warhorse.

What makes both operas is the music the stories inspired.


Nope, it's a dumb story set to a minestrone of Puccini melodies that say nothing specific about the characters.

TROVATORE is a dumb story, too, but the melodies are character-specific and situation-specific. And they are GREAT melodies!

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