The UMaine Hutchinson Center has joined with Senior College at the Hutchinson Center to upgrade its auditorium to state-of-the-art Blu- ray video and high definition Surround Sound, just in time for the final screening in Senior College’s Arts Celebration opera series.

The San Francisco Opera’s production of “La Rondine” will be screened Saturday, March 20 at 1 p.m. in the newly revamped auditorium of the Hutchinson Center, 98 Waldo Ave./Route 3.

Jim Patterson, president of the Senior College, recently presented a check to Sue McCullough, Hutchinson Center director, to bring to reality the magnificence of this new technology. An earlier opera showing this year garnered rave reviews for the plushness in the auditorium seating and the sheer enjoyment of the audio and video. One attendee remarked that this was the best performance venue that she has ever enjoyed.

Tickets are $15 at the door and proceeds will benefit Hutchinson Center scholarships. The Belfast Rotary Club will provide refreshments for sale to benefit scholarships, as well.

“La Rondine (The Swallow)” by Giacomo Puccini is set in Paris during the Second Empire. Magda, the heroine, is a demi-mondaine living under the protection of the rich banker Rambaldo. Satisfied with the luxuries he lavishes upon her, she longs for true affection and is unable to stifle the remembrance of her first love, a poor young student. She meets Ruggero, who like her earlier love, is young, poor and a student. At Bouilliers, the rendezvous of the gay life of Paris, Ruggero declares his love for Magda. They leave Paris for Nice, where they hope to lead an idyllic existence.

Ruggero looks forward to a life of perfect happiness. He writes to his parents, asking their consent to his marriage with Magda. The reply is that if she is virtuous and honorable, she will be received with open arms. Magda now considers herself (like Violetta in “La Traviata”) unworthy of Ruggero’s love and lest she brings dishonor upon the man she loves, she parts with him.

In the second act of “La Rondine” is a quartet which, it is said, Puccini believed would rival that at the end of the third act in “La Bohème.” The opera was produced in March 1917 in Monte Carlo and during the summer of the same year in Buenos Aires. Puccini intended to compose it with dialogue as a genuine opéra comique, but finally substituted recitative. The work is said to approach opéra comique in style.

For more information about the screening, call 338-8000 or toll-free (800) 753-9044; or visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to