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07 Jan 2009

La Rondine, Metropolitan Opera, New York

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.

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