Keep up to date on new content, company updates, upcoming events, special offers and behind the scenes action.

Sign Up
Black and white photo of Giacomo Puccini beside a piano.

La Rondine: Puccini’s rare masterpiece blends tragedy and comedy

To celebrate 100 years since Puccini’s death, Victorian Opera is thrilled to present La Rondine (The Swallow) this August.

In a grand townhouse in Brussels, 100 years ago, Giacomo Puccini’s heart beat for the final time. The world-famous Italian composer, renowned for his cinematic melodies and heart-wrenching stories of love, loss and poverty, had succumbed at age 65 to complications after throat cancer treatment. He left behind 12 incomparable operas, each of which continues to move audiences to tears in the 21st Century.

It has been over a century since they debuted, yet you’re likely still familiar with his most famous shows, such as Madame ButterflyLa bohéme and ToscaLa Rondine (The Swallow), which will be performed at the Palais Theatre this August, is among Puccini’s lesser-known works. We can’t wait to show you why it deserves greater recognition.

La Rondine has the perfect blend of Puccini’s trademark themes – tragedy, hardship and unbridled romance, elevated by lyrical orchestral scores.

It is set in the dreamy opulence of 19th Century Paris. There, falling in love is inevitable – but for Magda, a Parisian courtesan, it is also marred by deception and heartbreak.

La Rondine begins with Magda’s nostalgia for the giddy freedom of youth as a working girl, for dancing with inhibition, and for first love. Like a swallow escaping its gilded cage, Magda dons a disguise and visits a nightclub filled with students, artists and lovers.

She finds refuge from the prying eyes of young men to join Ruggero, a handsome acquaintance who does not recognise Magda through her disguise. As they talk, it takes mere moments for their sexual chemistry to blossom into love.

Magda must make a crucial decision. Will she fly away to a life with Ruggero in the French Riviera, while shackled to this ongoing lie? Or will she return to the life she knows, one devoid of love?

Over three acts, Puccini skilfully weaves between tragedy and comedy to tell the timeless story of romance and a longing for life unlived, for the endless potential of youth.

The rich vocals of Kiandra Howarth (Magda) and Won Whi Choi (Ruggero) accompany Puccini’s luscious orchestral score, capturing the fullness of love and the cruelty of heartbreak. Let La Rodine send you, too, soaring on emotional squalls, to discover what it means to leave it all behind for a chance at true love.

La Rondine (The Swallow): 8–10 August 2024