Magda, La Rondine

8th Oct 2016

Magda, La Rondine Puccini 
‘.. Central to the strength and credibility of this performance was soprano Ilona Domnich, who gave Magda a depth of character that had elements of Verdi’s tragic Violetta from La Traviata, in that she must sacrifice her true love, and also of Strauss’s Marschallin from Rosenkavalier, the older woman facing up to inevitable loss. Making Ruggero’s hope for children the necessary end to Magda’s deception, the stumbling block of her own romantic dream, Domnich’s creamy soprano was artfully delivered, carrying real emotional validity right to the final poignant high farewell.. ‘The Guardian, Rian Evans, Monday 9th June

‘.. At its heart is Magda, played by Ilona Domnich as a sensuous, elegant woman with plenty of mystery and conspiratorial charm (inspired in Occhipinti’s production by the outrageous Marchesa Luisa Casati). A magnetic presence, Domnich sings with passion and skilled lyricism. She uses the power of stillness to suggest a character with a rich internal life living out her ultimate fantasy, balanced with the kinetic energy of a consummate actress who almost fools herself into believing her assumed role. An expert seducer consciously allowing herself to be seduced, Magda uses Ruggero to fall in love with love again. There is something both touchingly desperate and coldly deliberate about the way Magda pursues him; yet, when her fantasy threatens to become reality, the complexity of her sorrow is truly moving. Magda plays with fire, and does not escape unscorched; we both love and pity Domnich. Puccini’s wonderful catalyst for his finale, the letter of congratulation (from Ruggero’s mother), is agonisingly cruel, as are the bells that chime softly in the background as Ruggero hopelessly begs Magda to stay: bells are the ultimate Italian emotional shorthand for homecoming, campanilismo, which Ruggero represents, but which Magda cannot endure.. ‘The Bachtrack, Charlotte Valori 17th June

‘.. Oliver Gooch conducts the excellent Chroma ensemble and a well-chosen cast, led by the creamy-voiced Ilona Domnich, who sings with ravishing sensuality and warmth as the flighty titular courtesan (La Rondine means “the swallow”).The Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen, 11th June

‘.. As the heroine Magda (‘the swallow’ of the title), Ilona Domnich compensated for the role’s lack of development with a sphinx-like self-possession, the kept woman who intuitively knows the extent to which she controls and is controlled, and her powerful soprano exuded a sense of glamorous resignation her contribution to ‘Chi il bel sogno’ had the audience itching to applaud. ‘Classic source, Peter reed, 10th June

‘.. Magda, played by the young Russian-born singer Ilona Domnich, was outstanding. There was an intelligence and depth to her performance which made her potentially creaky decision to leave Ruggero and return to her wealthy patron almost inevitable. Ruggero himself was played by James Edwards – another powerful singer with a gloriously rich voice. Both, I am sure, are destined for great things. Their final scene together at the end of Act III was a real emotional tour de force; there were, no doubt, more than a few of us wiping our eyes by the end of it.’The Fine Times Recorder , DG, 17th June