Technically this was the worst simulcast from the Metropolitan Opera ever. I highly recommend putting a receiver setup in the control room so the director, in this case Brian Large, can simultaneously review what is actually going into theaters. We could not make out any of Renée Fleming's interviews. Nada. Angela and Roberto were in especially good moods so this was an opportunity missed. We got complete silence. We got loud popping noises. We got fluctuating loudness. It was crap. I may have to go again to see if it is any better the second time around.
La Rondine is exactly the right opera for my present mood. Magda as a kept woman has her fixed place in society and is surrounded by wealth, glitter, even poetry while dreaming of romantic love. She sets out to find it. [In my own life there was no dreaming or planning. Things came along in a manner much like stepping in front of a moving bus.]
Magda does not notice Ruggero when he comes to her house and sits next to him at the dance hall quite by accident. It seems to me that Roberto Alagna is exactly the sort of man one would meet by accident and fall madly in love with. But perhaps this merely reflects my own taste. Clearly he is ready for the moment of passion, ready to leap into romantic love. They find exactly the sort of perfect love anyone would wish for and find in the end that it has no place in practical reality--that it can result in no home in the country and children. Magda cannot be taken home to mama. Roberto isn't the greatest tenor that ever lived, but he is a sweetie, and his rapport with his wife, Angela Gheorghiu, is very special. They clearly love working together, and they clearly love this opera. Angela was in form, though it was announced that she had a cold.
This is an opera that is ideal for HD treatment. To communicate intimacy it helps a lot if the viewing is intimate. This is my second viewing of this production, and I find it quite beautiful. La Rondine is a beautiful opera, beautifully cast, beautifully sung, beautifully acted, beautifully staged, beautifully photographed. And then the crappy transmission.
The maid Lisette was played by a woman named Lisette Oropesa. Is this more than a coincidence? I think she said in the interview (but who really knows) that she was born to be a maid just like the character. She was fabulous, sang well and looked cute on camera.
I predict for the characters that they will never see one another again and will always recall the feeling of overwhelming passion. Ruggero will marry a girl from the village, and she will know that his greatest love is for another.