So I’m sitting on the couch watching Dating Naked (that’s the name of the show – “Dating Naked”- I was not watching a show called “Dating” while naked) when The Wife comes to me and she says,
“Guess what we’re doing tonight?”
“Going to see ‘Jurassic World’?”
“No. You had your chance to see that. We’re going to the opera.”
“But you said I could go this weekend.”
“You can. Tomorrow. Or Sunday. But tonight you have a date with Puccini.”
“You know who’d love to go to the opera with you? Susan.”
“Susan is busy being a published author while you’re sitting on the couch watching — WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU WATCHING???!!!”
And so it was that we made our way once again to the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ production of Giacomo Puccini’s “La Rondine” a.k.a. “The Swallow.”
It’s a romance in three acts, which means two intermissions. You can imagine how I felt about that. It’s not a long show but imagine how much shorter it would’ve been without two intermissions. Is it a crime to want to get home at a decent hour? Adult-sitters ain’t cheap.
Corinne Winters stars a Magda, a young woman who gave up a life with love for a life with money thanks to stuffy old Rambaldo (Matthew Burns). One night after a dinner party (Act 1) she decides to sneak out and enjoy the Parisian nightlife (Act 2). She hooks up with Ruggero (Anthony Kalil), the son of one of Rambaldo’s old friends. When Magda is confronted by Rambaldo, she decides to run off with her new love.
Now the first two acts are pretty much the stuff of standard love stories. With the third act things turn more tragic and bittersweet. Magda and Ruggero are still in love but things are getting in the way — like lack of money. Ruggero wants to marry but to do so Magda must come clean about her past.
“La Rondine” isn’t one of your big, bombastic operas but its decent enough. The music is lovely and Winters has an amazing voice. Kalil complements her nicely. Sydney Mancasola and John McVeigh also entertain as Magda’s maid and the poet Prunier.
La Rodine continues June 18, 20, 24 and 28 at Opera Theatre St. Louis. http://www.opera-stl.org/