Opera review: ISRAELI OPERA PUCCINI: LA RONDINE

The Opera House, January 12.

By URY EPPSTEIN
January 21, 2015 21:27
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‘LA RONDINE’ . (photo credit: YOSSI ZWECKER)

 
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Puccini’s tear-jerker La Rondine, performed by the Israeli Opera, can easily qualify as an opera with one of the most nonsensical plots.

The sticky sentimentalities of the identifiable La Traviata elements in La Rondine made sense in Verdi’s Traviata, but not here. Moreover, this opera’s music is a test of patience. Premiered in 1917, it sounds like 19th century Romanticism, with no trace of 20th century modernity. Unlike other Puccini operas, this one does not contain any tune one can hum on the way home.

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Nicolas Joel and Ezio Frigerio’s direction and sets were commonplace realistic, indulging blissfully in deja vu elements. Some singers functioned as consolation prizes in this pedestrian production.

In the title role, Aurelia Florian made one understand why Ruggero, performed by tenor Zoran Todorovich, fell in love with her soft, inflection- rich, well-rounded soprano. As Prunier, Marius Brenciu displayed an expressive, caressing lyric tenor.

Outstanding was Hila Baggio as Lisette, with her bright, clear, youthful-sounding soprano and lively acting.

Conducted by Frederic Chaslin, the Symphony Orchestra Rishon Le-Zion accurately provided the musical support.

A greater service would have been rendered to Puccini by not resurrecting this justifiably forgotten opera.

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