The Metropolitan Opera’s breathtaking summer broadcasts are in full swing and the next one is your ticket--albeit an admission ticket--to the French Riviera.
Playing at local Cinemark theaters this Wednesday night is La Rondine or The Swallow, one of Puccini’s neglected but equally endearing stage works. First performed in Monte Carlo in the spring of 1917, La Rondine follows the charming Magda, a courtesan, who unexpectedly finds true love in the handsome Ruggero.
Wandering into a local bar on a whim and in pursuit of a little adventure, Magda’s eye is caught by the fetching Ruggero who is sitting alone. Joining him at his table, Magda calls herself Paulette and engages Ruggero in a discussion of love. The pair talk and dance well into the night and, as one might expect, fall madly in love with each other. Naturally, they immediately head south for the French Riviera together.
Having lived in a hotel for months, the couple is nearly broke. Ruggero writes to his mother asking for some walking around money and describes his idyllic life with fiancée Magda. With his mother’s blessing, Ruggero envisions a beautiful future with Magda as his wife. But Magda, worried about her sordid past, cannot reconcile her new life with her deceptions. Tormented by the weight of her guilt, she is torn between the love of Ruggero and the reality of her truth.
You’ll have to go see the show for the rest. (Here’s a non-hint: Puccini, true to form, revised the opera three times in 1917, 1920 and 1921 and had two completely different endings but died before deciding on a final version. Pity it wasn’t a Choose Your Own Adventure opera.)
Needless to say, it’s a classic “love at first sight” story that holds all the favorite opera hallmarks: mistaken identity, jealousy and adventure. The curtain goes up at 7 pm, this Wednesday, June 25th at all Louisville Cinemark theaters. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online here. Au revoir!
(Photo courtesy of www.metoperafamily.org.)
Follow Michael on Twitter: @rackoflambert.
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