A Charming Rendition
Puccini's 'La Rondine',
reviewed by MARIA NOCKIN
In 1910, Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) was the most revered opera composer in the world. His latest work, La Fanciulla del West, had a widely publicized and well-received première at the Metropolitan Opera with superstar tenor Enrico Caruso in the leading role of Dick Johnson. However, two years later Puccini was not working on a new piece because nothing had piqued his interest. Besides that, there was one musician who had a larger public than he did, Franz Léhar, composer of the operetta, The Merry Widow. Thus, in 1913, when the directors of the Karltheater in Vienna offered Puccini a commission for a comic opera, he gladly took it.
David Pittsinger and Patricia Racette in the Los Angeles Opera production of Puccini's 'La Rondine'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard
The libretto was to be based on a scenario by Alfred Willner and Heinz Reichert that had to be translated into Italian for the composer and his librettist, Giuseppe Adami. The Viennese theater managers were not worried about the translation problem, however. They knew any piece by Puccini would draw crowds whenever they played it.
Copyright © 22 June 2008
Maria Nockin, Arizona USA