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With “La rondine” the Teatro alla Scala opens the celebrations for the centenary of Puccini, on the podium Riccardo Chailly, directed by Irina Brook
The work will be presented in the very recent critical edition edited by Ditlev Rindom, with an almost entirely Italian cast

Teatro alla Scala Foundation Presents

“ Season 2023/24 | Opera "
TO Milan, the Teatro alla Scala opens the celebrations for centenary of Puccini with an eagerly awaited new production of The swallow, “not an operetta but a real opera” underlines the musical director Riccardo Chailly who says he was "struck" by this less represented title, which he strongly wanted on the Scaliger stage thirty years after the last performance directed by Gianandrea Gavazzeni.

The anniversary of the 100th anniversary of the death of Giacomo Puccini offers Chailly and La Scala the opportunity to continue a project that has been ongoing for several years: bringing the composer's works back to the stage according to credible and up-to-date performance criteria as is now the practice for authors such as Rossini and Verdi, exploring genesis, variations and rethinking and offering the listener a portrait capable of conveying the artist's complexity.

The swallow, a lyrical comedy in three acts, will be staged at the Piermarini from 4 to 20 April 2024 for six performances, performed according to the brand new critical edition edited by Ditlev Rindom (Ricordi 2023), which was able to make use of Puccini's autograph for the first time, thought to be lost for a long time and only found in recent years in the Torre del Lago archive.

The freshness of a less seen title is combined with the brilliant directorial vision of Irina Brook, which eliminates every holographic patina and proposes a modern and very current staging in the image, aided by the sets and costumes of Patrick Kinmonth, from the lights of Marco Filibeck and the choreography of Paul Pui Wo Lee.

The cast is almost entirely Italian, and includes several rapidly rising young voices in the main roles: Mariangela Sicily (Magda), Matteo Lippi (Ruggero), Rosalie Cid (Lisette), John Room (Prunier), supported by the expert baritone Peter Spaniards who makes his return in the role of Rambaldo.

The work

“The most elegant, the most refined score by Puccini” according to Victor de Sabata, The swallow it was nevertheless a work of long and painful elaboration. At the beginning of the 1910s Puccini was comforted by the triumph of the 'Fanciulla del West' at the Metropolitan in New York, but in difficulty with his publishing house after the death in 1912 of Giulio Ricordi, who was succeeded by his son Tito II who was not in equally good relationships with the composer. Puccini looks abroad again and accepts the commission from the Carltheater in Vienna for a light-hearted work with a libretto by Heinz Reichert and Alfred Willner: in Puccini's intentions not exactly an operetta, rather a comedy intertwined with waltz rhythms, similar in some verses from Strauss' Rosenkavalier (1911) with which it also shares the theme of emotional maturity and female renunciation. The uncertainties about the libretto, then entrusted to Giuseppe Adami, and above all the outbreak of the First World War which saw Italy and Austria on opposite sides, lead to the breaking of the contract with Vienna: La rondine will debut only in 1917 in Montecarlo with the direction of Gino Marinuzzi , who also directed the first La Scala performance in 1940. The only revival at the Piermarini dates back to 1994 thanks to the culture and sensitivity of Gianandrea Gavazzeni.

“The structure of The swallow it is complex, studied down to the smallest detail,” explains the director Riccardo Chailly  – but when listening it sounds extremely natural; everything is overcome by the fluidity of the singing, the melody and the orchestration. But the strength of the individualisations, the fluidity of the dialogues, the modernity of the features give a very particular charm to this singular comedy which plays with the past and the present, and blends together many styles without losing sight of its organic nature". In the Rondine's sound canvas, waltzes certainly dominate, but they are intertwined with astonishing naturalness with other dances, including the quick step, the tango, the polka and the slow fox, and a whole panorama of quotations and self-citations: not only Strauss (Richard and Johann) but the world of Ravel's Valses nobles et sentimentales and the new perspectives opened by Stravinsky.

The show

“The swallow – he explains Irina Brook – is a 'spirit animal': individuals with a swallow spirit lose their reason when someone tries to control them. They love to live freely and want to see others the same way. They want to be masters of their own destiny […] As a director I always try to find a way to feel as close as possible to my material. The idea for this Rondine was to approach it through the gaze of an imaginary character, 'Anna' [who will be played by choreographer Anna Olkhovaya], a young choreographer making her debut as an opera director. This alter ego embodies many of my questions and dreams. Through Anna's lens, I question the influence of romantic films, literature and, of course, opera on the female psyche." The scene, inspired by the classic Hollywood musicals, sets the story in an elegant summer pavilion like those built on the piers of Atlantic beaches or the English coasts at the end of the 19th century. ~

(Top photo, credit Brescia & Amisano+ Teatro alla Scala; Irina Brook, credit ©Amanda Lane)
With “La rondine” the Teatro alla Scala opens the celebrations for the centenary of Puccini, on the podium Riccardo Chailly, directed by Irina Brook

Other information of interest

The first representation of the April 4th is transmitted in live on Rai Radio3; the show will be filmed by Rai Cultura and broadcast in deferred from Rai5.

At the Ridotto dei Palchi, one hour before the start of each performance, Elisabetta Fava (Full Professor of History of Music at the University of Turin) will hold an introductory conference on the work.


Director Riccardo Chailly
Direction Irina Brook

Scenes and costumes Patrick Kinmonth
Lighting designer Marco Filibeck
Choreography Paul Pui Wo Lee

Main interpreters
Magda Mariangela Sicily
Lisette Rosalia Cid
Ruggero Matteo Lippi
Prunier Giovanni Sala
Rambaldo Pietro Spagnoli

Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala

New Teatro alla Scala Production


Giacomo Puccini
The swallow

Lyric comedy in three acts
Libretto by Giuseppe Adami

Critical edition edited by Ditlev Rindom


4 April 2024 at 8pm 'before'
reruns 7 April at 2.30pm
9, 12, 14 and 20 April at 8pm  

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Teatro alla ScalaThe New Regio Ducal… more

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