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The composer rejected Willner and Reichert's first scenario but accepted their second draft. He gave it to Adami who tended to work rather slowly and Act One was not ready on time. On the whole, Puccini was not displeased with his work, though, because Adami would later write the libretto for Il Tabarro. Eventually, World War I intervened and the première of La rondine ('The Swallow') was moved to Monaco. It was first seen at the Salle Garnier in Monte Carlo on 27 March 1917, with Gilda dalla Rizza as Magda and Tito Schipa as Ruggero. Some of Puccini's enemies tried to spoil the performance but they failed. It was a success in the theater and with the press. Even so, the composer revised it in 1919 and again the following year.

Marcus Haddock and Patricia Racette in the Los Angeles Opera production of Puccini's 'La Rondine'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard
Marcus Haddock and Patricia Racette in the Los Angeles Opera production of Puccini's 'La Rondine'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard

Los Angeles Opera presented La rondine on 12 June 2008 in a revival of the realistic production by Marta Domingo. Designer Michael Scott fixed the time and place as Paris in the Gay Nineties with his attractive bustled costumes and period furnishings. Domingo had her singers move gracefully but, having been a singer herself, she never asked them to do anything that would interfere with their vocal projection.

Greg Fedderly and Amanda Squitieri in the Los Angeles Opera production of Puccini's 'La Rondine'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard
Greg Fedderly and Amanda Squitieri in the Los Angeles Opera production of Puccini's 'La Rondine'. Photo © 2008 Robert Millard

 

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Copyright © 22 June 2008 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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Cadenza Programme Note Library - Programme Notes by Mike Wheeler