Fairfield University begins 2009 with The Met in HD's Live production of Puccini's La Rondine - January 10

The Met: Live in HD returns to Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts with the rarely seen Puccini opera, "La Rondine" starring the renowned husband and wife team Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 1:00 p.m. There will be an encore performance Sunday, Jan. 11 at 1:00 p.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

After an absence of 82 years, Puccini's bittersweet romance, "La Rondine," returns to the Met with the two stars who have been instrumental in bringing this Puccini work into the repertory of various opera houses around the world.

Gheorghiu is Magda, the worldly Parisian mistress of a wealthy banker, who falls in love with the charming but naïve young Ruggero, played by Alagna. Lisette Oropesa is the saucy maid, Lisette; Marius Brenciu sings the poet Prunier, in his Met debut and Samuel Ramey is the banker, Rambaldo.

Marco Armiliato conducts. The Art Deco-style production by Nicolas Joël originated at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2004 and was later seen at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse and at the San Francisco Opera. The sets are by Ezio Frigerio; Franca Squarciapino designed the costumes and the lighting designer is Duane Schuler; the Met performances are staged by Stephen Barlow.

Gheorghiu and Alagna have made something of a specialty of "La Rondine" in recent years. This past June, the couple sang a special concert of arias and songs with the Met Orchestra and Chorus in Brooklyn's Prospect Park to a record-breaking crowd of 50,000. "Ms. Gheorghiu and Mr. Alagna delivered urgent, stirring and emotional performances that earned them ovation after ovation," wrote The New York Times of that concert.

The opera has only been staged in four prior Met seasons. The company premiere in 1927-28 featured two now legendary singers in the lead roles, soprano Lucrezia Bori and tenor Beniamino Gigli, who also sang the work in the following two seasons. A revival in 1935-36 again starred Bori, but with Nino Martini as Ruggero.

"La Rondine" has an approximate running time of 2 hours 15 minutes with one intermission.

Tickets are $22 general, $20 seniors and $15 students and children and can be purchased online at fairfield.edu/quick or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website at fairfield.edu/quick.

Coming next on Saturday, January 24 at 1:00 p.m. with an encore performance the same evening at 7:00 p.m., is Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice."

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 5, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 167

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