Rather than at one of the big Italian houses or the Met, Rondine had its world premiere in Monte Carlo in 1917 with Gilda Dalla Rizza, one of the composer’s favorite sopranos, as Magda and Tito Schipa as Ruggero. The opera arrived at the Met in 1928 with Lucrezia Bori and Beniamino Gigli who starred in every performance of the work until 1936 when Bori did her final Magdas with Nino Martini.

The opera then disappeared from the company for decades until a new production was mounted for Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna in 2008, followed by just one revival five years later for Kristine Opolais’s debut. In 2024 Rondine will serve as the occasion for three Met debuts: Jonathan Tetelman, Emily Pogorelc, and Bekhzod Davronov as Ruggero, Lisette and Prunier, respectively, with Angel Blue singing her first Magda, a perhaps surprising casting about which I’m most curious.

The Welitsch version may be familiar to some as it’s occasionally been released on LP and CD. Magda seems ideal for Zeani at that point in her career, while the Munich concert broadcast feels bittersweet given the abbreviated careers of both Gallardo-Domâs and Jerry Hadley, her Ruggero.

Puccini: La Rondine

(in German)
Magda:  Ljuba Welitsch
Lisette: Dorothea Siebert
Ruggero: Anton Dermota
Prunier: Waldamar Kmentt
Rambaldo: Walter Berry

Chor der Wiener Staatsoper
Sinfonieorchester des ORF Wien
Conductor: Meinhard von Zallinger
ORF Wien
1952 ?

Magda: Virginia Zeani
Lisette: Gabriella Ravazzi
Ruggero: Luciano Saldari
Prunier: Angelo Marchiandi
Rambaldo: Amgelo Romero

Conductor: Nino Verchi
Teatro del Giglio, Lucca
19 September 1971
In-house recording

Magda: Cristina Gallardo-Domâs
Lisette: Laura Cherici
Ruggero: Jerry Hadley
Prunier: Francesco Piccoli
Rambaldo: Giovanni Meoni

Munich Philharmonic
Conductor: Gianluigi Gelmetti
Gasteig, Munich
16 September 1997

Each Rondine can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.

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