If Opera: Puccini’s La Rondine – 4 September, St George’s Bristol




Sunday 4 September 2022 at 7pm
St George’s Bristol

Bristol Ensemble Orchestra
Oliver Gooch Conductor
Bruno Ravella Director
Flavio Graff Designer

If Opera Company
Meinir Wyn Roberts Magda
tbc- Ruggero
Philip Smith Rambaldo
Lorena Paz Nieto Lisette
Ryan Vaughan Davies Prunier
Kieran Rayner Perichaud
Lara Marie Muller Yvette/ Georgette
Shakira Tsindos Suzy/ Lolette
Natasha Page Bianca/ Gabriella

If Opera Chorus
Helen Maree Cooper
Matthew Curtis
Jack Dolan
Robert Garland
Lara Rebekah Harvey
Clover Kayne
Jonathan Forbes Kennedy
Katherine McIndoe
Grace Nyandoro
Matteo Placidi
Jordan Harding-Pointon
Rachel Speirs

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

A costumed concert performance

If Opera is the new company that emerged from the much loved and acclaimed Iford Arts.

If Opera has a powerful ethos of putting its ensemble of singers to the fore, producing opera in exciting ways and exciting places. The company come to St George’s straight form their inaugural season in Bradford On Avon with a cast of some of the most exciting emergent talent in the UK.

Puccini composed some of the most popular operas in history and La Rondine was thought of as his ‘operetta’; lighter, more frivolous. Yet that would be far too simplistic. The opera does have a kind of ‘West End show’ dimension, with dizzying bar scenes and choruses, and young love liberally spread among the characters but at the heart the opera is a doomed affair. Puccini gives us one of his greatest creations – the quartet I Drink to Your Beautiful Smile – which holds us in breathless thrall as the whole world surrounding our two lovers, Magda and Ruggero, sing to their happiness. Yet we know none of this is going to end well. The warm, glitteringly sumptuous melody in which this opera is bathed means the desolation of the story’s conclusion ultimately brings us to our knees, helpless in the face of the final crushing scene.

Puccini’s orchestral palette scarcely shone as brightly and inventively as it does in La Rondine, and his music, which at times forces you into total submission, is as beautiful as anything in his canon. One of the most satisfying and memorable nights of opera that you can experience.