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Introduction

When Magda, the elegant mistress of the elderly Rambaldo, meets the young, naive Ruggero, she is smitten and dreams of building a life with him. But can she escape her chequered past?

News and features

  1. Your reaction: La rondine

    6 July 2013

    A selection of audience tweets from the first night of Nicolas Joël’s production of Puccini's tender opera.

  2. Young Artist Profile: Hanna Hipp

    1 July 2013

    The Polish mezzo-soprano reflects on two years with The Royal Opera and her final Covent Garden performance in La rondine.

Background

La rondine was commissioned by the Karltheater, Vienna in 1913, but its 1917 premiere was moved to neutral Monte Carlo after the outbreak of World War I. Although an initial success, La rondine was denounced as an ‘enemy opera’ by the French press and declined in popularity. Only recently has the opera been performed regularly in opera houses worldwide.

Nicolas Joël’s production draws on the glamour and glitter of 1920s France. In the chic surroundings of her Parisian salon, Magda celebrates passionate love in the memorable song ‘Doretta’s Dream’ and in an Art Nouveau-inspired café, the lovers chat to a leisurely foxtrot. Giacomo Puccini’s score is influenced by Viennese operetta and infused with popular dance rhythms, from two interwoven waltz themes in Act II to lively polkas and tangos. The final act moves to a hotel on the French Riviera where the lovers bid a heart-breaking farewell in soaring melodies, before Magda – the ‘swallow’ of the title – flies away.