La Rondine, Metropolitan Opera, New York

By Martin Bernheimer [Financial Times, 2 January 2009]
La Rondine, back at the Met after a 72-year absence, is Puccini’s most eclectic sort-of-masterpiece. Completed in 1917, it makes knowing references – some musical, some dramatic – to Leh·r’s Lustige Witwe, Verdi’s Traviata, Johann Strauss’s Fledermaus and, yes, Puccini’s BohËme. For a fleeting in-joke, it quotes Richard Strauss’s Salome. The commedia lirica vacillates shamelessly yet elegantly between artificially sweetened verismo and sentimental kitsch. Yet, if performed with taste and style, it can be engrossing.