07 Jan 2009
La Rondine, Metropolitan Opera, New York
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
By Martin Bernheimer [Financial Times, 2 January 2009]
La Rondine, back at the Met after a 72-year absence, is Puccini’s most eclectic sort-of-masterpiece. Completed in 1917, it makes knowing references - some musical, some dramatic - to Lehár’s Lustige Witwe, Verdi’s Traviata, Johann Strauss’s Fledermaus and, yes, Puccini’s Bohème. For a fleeting in-joke, it quotes Richard Strauss’s Salome. The commedia lirica vacillates shamelessly yet elegantly between artificially sweetened verismo and sentimental kitsch. Yet, if performed with taste and style, it can be engrossing.