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Sunday, April 25, 2010

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By Emma Krasov
She is a courtesan, he is a hopeless romantic. She is Parisian to the core (of course, in a 1917 Italian, based on earlier German, libretto), he shies away from the temptations of La Ville-Lumiere. They build a love nest on the Riviera, but he depends on his parents’ financial support, and his mother would only take in an innocent bride. To make matters worse, her rich benefactor is willing to forgive and forget; her friends are numerous and witty, and they expect her back; and a sarcastic poet – the toast of the town – won’t let her enjoy her illusions of purity for long. However, it’s not the intrigue that keeps opera lovers seek thrills in outdated and simplistic plots. Opera San Jose, fully equipped with all the necessary means, consistently delivers high-end musical entertainment in the heart of Silicon Valley, where, as General Director Irene Dalis puts it, “many people don’t even know we exist!” Judging from the full house yesterday at the opening of La Rondine (music Giacomo Puccini, libretto Giuseppe Adami, based on A.M. Willner and H. Reichert) still more people know, and appreciate the existence of OSJ very much. A talented cast and a beautifully staged show in an opulent historic California Theatre, is something patrons usually expect from their favorite venue. The closing production of the 2009-2010 season held audience’s attention and prompted a standing ovation at the finale.
The premiere cast featured excellent performers Rebecca Davis as Magda and Christopher Bengochea as Ruggero. The lead couples’ comedic counterparts – poet Prunier and maid-come-actress-come-maid-again Lisette were superbly portrayed by Michael Dailey and Khori Dastoor, supported by the rest of well-skilled cast.
The opera was conducted by David Rohrbaugh. Stage director Jose Maria Condemi, set designer Larry Hancock, costume designer Elizabeth Poindexter, lighting designer Kent Dorsey. Through May 9. For tickets and performance information call 408-437-4450 or visit


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