Puccini: La Rondine

Album cover art for upc 807280133097
Label: ARTHAUS
Catalog: 101330
Format: BLU RAY

This was recorded in 2008 at La Fenice in Venice. The leading role is the courtesan Magda, who falls in love with Ruggero after a long love affair with an older man, a banker. The story reminds one of La Traviata in both the primary roles and their relationships and the social structure, such as parties and secondary characters. In the Rondine original the affair simply ends with a jilted lover, but in this performance Magda commits suicide in the nearby ocean. The singing and acting is average for most roles, the exception being Magda who starts slowly with some chest congestion, but keeps getting better. The staging and sets are well done, and the principals are believable in their behavior. At the cabaret party they are entertained by the Acrobatic Swing Dance group in Act II. Too bad that sequence does not last longer. Clothing looks very chic. The music is well recorded, though Rizzi has to step in several times to cure some ragged tempos. The video benefits from the Blu-Ray coding with deep saturated colors, though the detail level probably does not employ all the precision afforded by the 1080i coding, trading that for greater depth of field. Blacks are fully rendered, with few processing artifacts resulting from the translation. The audio is warm and pleasing. This isn’t the first Blu-Ray I would play repeatedly, but it is a pleasant performance.

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