Giocomo Puccini’s La rondine

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Giacomo Puccini
LABELS: CPO
ALBUM TITLE: Giacomo Puccini La Rondine
WORKS: La Rondine
PERFORMER: Elena Mosuc, Yosep Kang, Evelin Novak, Álvaro Zambrono, Siobhan Stagg, Elbenita Kajtazi, Stephanie Lauricella; Bavarian Radio Choir; Munich Radio Orchestra/ Ivan Repušić
CATALOGUE NO: 555 0752

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There are lovely moments in this live recording of La rondine, a curiously level-headed reworking of La traviata in which hearts are bruised rather than broken. Ivan Repušić coaxes playing with plenty of spring and succulence from the Munich Radio Orchestra. The Act II dance music is glossy and animated, but the dewy scoring at the close of Act III seems unmerited by a dry-eyed situation. Coloristic fragments such as ‘Nella trepida luce d’un mattin’ are more moving in context than ‘Chi il bel sogno di Doretta’. Dramatic tension, such as it is, arrives too late. Does Magda (Elena Moșuc) really love Ruggero (Yosep Kang) or is their romance merely a distraction from her regrets?

Moșuc’s smooth, well-centred lyric soprano loses connection with the text above the stave, and while Kang has a pleasingly focused, young-sounding voice, there are passages where expressivity comes at the expense of intonation. The secondary couple, Lisette (Evelin Novak) and Prunier (Álvaro Zambrano), are more engaging, more precise in their Italian and more fully characterised, with a sense of real affection behind a convenient affair between an aspiring singer and a songwriter. Supporting roles are superbly sung, with a clean blend from sopranos Siobhan Stagg and Elbenita Kajtazi, and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Lauricella. The Bavarian Radio Choir sings brightly but lacks the juice of a full-time opera chorus.

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Anna Picard