Two things to toast at the Folly Theater tonight at the party following the Kansas City Puccini Festival's production of La Rondine: the master's 150th birthday, and the maestro's seventh year of somehow muscling opera onto local stages for free. Free for us, that is. Festival founder and conductor Andy Anderson, one imagines, has to be getting the money from someplace. Though La Rondine, this year's show, is lesser known Puccini, it still plows familiar ground. There are lovers, courtesans, and human tragedy, all ravishingly orchestrated and belted by the likes of Megan King and Nicholas Larson. As in La Traviata, the story turns on love and money and all the seedy conjunctions of the two — how they attract, complicate and, at times, even pay for each other. A century and change after Puccini penned this opera, these problems remain vital. Still, we've lucked out one way: Here's the work of one of opera's greats, and all we need pony up to hear it is love. The free show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Folly Theater (300 West 12th Street, 816-474-4444).
Sat., May 17, 7:30 p.m., 2008