La rondine | Giacomo Puccini
Money can be an obstacle in the search for true love: this is the story of Magda, the star of Puccini’s La Rondine. The young woman is a rich Parisian courtesan who decides, one evening, to borrow the modest clothes of her maid Lisette and to spend a few hours at a local bar; here, she meets Ruggero, a boy who has just arrived from the provinces, and immediately they fall in love. In order for their relationship to work, Magda has to hide her past and her wealth.
The work dates back to 1913, when a Viennese theatre commissioned an operetta from Puccini. As he was not highly attracted by the spoken dialogues typical of the genre, the Lucca-born maestro came up with a light lyrical comedy, enlivened by the use of dance rhythms, including the waltz and the tango, with a vocally demanding part for the protagonist. The result was a hybrid composition with a kaleidoscopic variety, entrusted here to Francesco Lanzillotta, a recognised expert in the field of twentieth-century opera. The difficult role of Magda will be played by Olga Peretyatko, a soprano highly acclaimed for her agility and versatility; she will be joined on stage by Mario Rojas and Valentina Farcas. Pierre-Emmanuel Rousseau returns to our theatre after opening the 2023 season, with a new production that moves the action to 1973 to pay homage to the fiftieth anniversary of the reopened Teatro Regio, evoking the allure of the years of Yves Saint-Laurent, Brigitte Bardot, Romy Schneider and Alain Delon.
Lecture-Concert: Wednesday 8 November at 6 pm - Piccolo Regio Puccini
Lyrical comedy in three acts
Characters and cast
Carolina Lopez Moreno
Luigi Della Monica
Rita La Vecchia
Paola Isabella Lopopolo
Durante questa recita è attivo il Bimbi Club
During this performance the Baby Club is available
A luxuriously furnished room in Magda’s house in Paris during the second Empire.
The poet Prunier is entertaining the guests with tales of modern day love stories, but the maid Lisette, who is both down to earth and quick-witted, is quick to scorn any kind of sentimentalism and with the exception of Magda, a sensitive day-dreamer, no one seems to be taking the poet particularly seriously. Prunier is explaining his theory in his latest song: in the name of happiness, the humble Doretta turns down the life of luxury a king is offering her. Magda then joins in and sings the end of the tale: Doretta went on to live her life of passion with a student. Rambaldo, a banker and Magda’s lover, gives her a necklace to exorcise this state of mind but without success. Lisette announces the arrival of Ruggero Lastouc, the son of one of Rambaldo’s childhood friends; in the meantime Magda is telling the guests about an innocent flirt she had with a student at Bullier’s Café, a fleeting meeting when she was young that she will never forget. Prunier’s expectations are completely different since he would never dream of having a relationship with an unsophisticated woman, in accordance with his artistic aspirations. Rambaldo returns to the room with the new arrival just as Prunier is reading Magda’s hand, saying she will fly away towards the sea in search of the sun and love, just like a swallow. The company is lavish with their suggestions as to where the young Ruggero should spend his first evening in Paris - in the end they all agree they should go to Bullier’s. When the guests have left, Magda decides to stay at home but then changes her mind. In the meanwhile, the two secret lovers Prunier and Lisette decide to have dinner out – wearing her mistress’ clothes, the young girl leaves together with the poet. Magda returns and, dressed as a humble grisette, is almost unrecognizable, ready to set out on another adventure at Bullier’s, just as she did in the past.
At Bullier’s. The restaurant is full of students, artists, flower-girls and grisettes. Ruggero is sitting at a small table and Magda joins him to escape the insistent wooing of the students. The two talk warm-heartedly before joining in a frantic waltz that sweeps away the entire room. Magda hides her true identity from the young man from the province, who is searching for eternal love, not just a mere adventure. Before long, the couple kiss. When Lisette enters the restaurant she recognizes her mistresses with a shock, but Prunier, whom Magda has warned, convinces her that she is mistaken. It is time for a toast, but Rambaldo suddenly appears at the top of the stairs as well, asking for an explanation – head-over heels in love, Magda leaves him and returns to Ruggero to start a new life.
On the French Riviera. On a sunny terrace overlooking the Mediterranean, Magda and Ruggero are drinking tea, blissfully happy despite the fact they are about to run out of money. Ruggero has asked his family’s permission to marry her and gives Magda an idyllic description of their future life together in the country, one of serenity and honesty. This outlook makes Magda more and more agitated - Ruggero knows nothing of her past and, above all, she is afraid she will feel imprisoned and suffocated by such a future life. Prunier and Lisette come to visit her. Her former maid is also distraught - Prunier has tried to make an actress out of her, but her debut was a disaster and Magda more than happily gives her her old job back. Before leaving, Prunier tells her that Rambaldo has said she can return whenever she wishes; before taking his leave, he arranges his next meeting with the maid. Magda’s lover arrives and triumphantly shows her the letter his mother has sent, expressing her happiness that her son has found a suitable wife – she will soon bless their joy. Magda realizes that she can never be Ruggero’s wife or the wife of his children – that future is not for her. The young man bursts into tears and Magda leaves him for ever, accompanied by Lisette.