The music is beautiful. The performance is so delightful that one wants to play it over and over again, and I did. Then, why is it that this opera is so seldom performed? There was a gap of 73 years between two MET performances (1936 and 2009). Angela Gheorghiu's response was "This is a difficult opera to perform", without saying why. My translation: it is difficult to put together four main characters like the present four. Angela is becoming one of my all-time favorite sopranos. Lisette Oropesa as Lisette is so cute and feminine. She adds so much charm. Even Roberto Alagna, the weakest of the four, delivers an emotion-packed performance.
The Amazon reviews are helpful. Thanks to Ivy Lin's comments, coupled with the abominable reviews of Marta Domingo in the Washington National Opera (WNO) version, the decision on which DVD to buy was easy. The ending could not be better. It is simultaneously serene and passionate. As a result, the final love scene comes across powerful, something that stabbing and violence cannot deliver. It helps to have Samuel Ramey slip in quietly in the dark background at the very end.....subtle and imaginative, accompanied by beautiful melodies. It is Puccini to the very end.
I saw the ending of the WNO version on Utube, and detested it. Having said that, WNO is still my favorite opera company, just as the Washington Redskins is my favorite sports team - in spite of Marta Domingo and Dan Snyder. Marta Domingo disrespects Puccini, and thinks she can do better. She is destroying this beautiful opera. She did not earn her position as a director at WNO. There is corruption in opera, just as in politics.
This La Rondine version will pass the test of time in memorable fashion.