SAN FRANCISCO, November 17, 2017 – Opera San Jose successfully kicked off their second performance from their 2017-2018 season with a fabulous performance of Puccini’s La Rondine at the always impressive, California Theatre. With every opera showcased, the talented Opera San Jose resident ensemble continually outdoes itself.
Opera San Jose: La Rondine story
For those of you unfamiliar with the La Rondine storyline, it is, as many opera’s go, a love story, perhaps an impossible love story. And as many an opera go, with a less than favorable ending. There are no Hollywood endings in opera. If there were, perhaps fans of opera would not like it as much.
This particular storyline is set in Paris at a fashionable party, and a poet speaks of the nature of love. One of the hosts, Magda, realizes that her life as a courtesan has no love at all.
In desperate search of her poor but happy youth, she dresses in disguise and ventures to Bullier’s, the nightclub that she frequented as a teenager. Bullier’s is known for its rich nightlife and packed with students, artists, flower sellers, dancers, and drinkers.
There, she meets and falls in love with a young man, and throwing caution to the wind, leaves her rich protector. Of course, it goes the way of all flesh. This is Puccini at the height of his Romantic style and revels in the gaiety of Paris and the sensual richness of love: pure soaring lusciousness, and a little heartbreak.
Opera San Jose: La Rondine star performances
This opera has a grand cast of many supporting characters. The main five leads are Magda, her rich protector (Rambaldo), Magda’s chambermaid (Lisette), the poet (Prunier) and Magda’s love interest (Ruggero). All five leads from opening night were very strong.
The clear star of this performance was soprano Amanda Kingston in her stunning portrayal of Magda. Her range and complete ownership of her role makes her an absolute star. She also starred in the season’s opening performance in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte as Fiordiligi and delivered an equally impressive performance.
The second star of the night clearly went to soprano Elena Galvan as Lisette. Puccini beautifully understands the desire and need to add a bit of comic relief to his otherwise tragedy riddled operas and Lisette’s role was clearly defined as this from the very beginning of the performance. Galvan owns this role and delivers it with incredible mastery.
The third star of the night goes to tenor Mason Gates as Prunier. Prunier’s role is critical to this opera as he sets the tone of longing for love from the very beginning. He adds depth in the overall story as well as levity in his unexpected and impossible relationship with Lisette.
The entire cast was impressive as well. Special nods going to soprano Maya Kherani as Yvette and baritone Trevor Neal as Rambaldo. Their performances leave the audience wanting more.
One cannot have opera without the incredible symphony, conductor, set design, costumes, makeup and lighting. Hats off to conductor Christopher Larkin and director Candace Evans.
Opera San Jose: La Rondine if you go
La Rondine is sung in Italian with English supertitles. Only three performances remain, November 19th, 21st and 26th. Find information and tickets at the Opera San Jose website. Tickets range from $55 – $175.
Opera San Jose’s season continues with these fine operas: The Flying Dutchman and La Traviata. See their website for details.
Opera goers looking to stay the night, check out The Westin San Jose. It is literally a one and a half block walk from the hotel to the front door of the California Theatre.