Luciano Botelho & Allyson McHardy
17 November 2010 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Sound is supposed to follow sense and actions may speak louder than words. It doesn’t always work when staging an opera – even a comic one. Peter Hall’s production of Rossini’s take on the Cinderella story has been revived by Lynne Hockney and demands considerable physical agility from its performers as well as vocal qualities. There are moments when the eye is distracted from the ear.
However, high vocal qualities are there in full measure.
Angelina McHardy makes a forceful heroine with the iron streak in her character which will sustain her through all her trials apparent even before she’s sung a note. Hers is a flexible voice, encompassing the wide range of the mezzo tessitura the composer has provided from the simplicity of the fireside lament to the fireworks of her final rondo. She looks charming, as well.
Don Ramiro also has some showpiece arias, and
Luciano Botelho carries these off with ease; his study of the prince suggeats a young man just growing into emotional as well as intellectual maturity. He’s matched by Joan Martin-Royo as Dandini who projects a likeable valet as much friend as attendant, though one who will learn where the boundaries are set. The bass-baritone Paul Whelan seems to hold back until launched into his first-act aria as Alidoro but thereafter relaxed into the part.
Montefiascone’s trio of nasties – the baron and his two daughters – are gifts to singers prepared to make fools of themselves.
Jonathan Veira has the buffo style off pat, eyes glinting with malice or merriment (often both at the same time). His obvious enjoyment of the part is shared by the audience. Anna Siminska is willow-whip Clorinda with Victoria Zaytseva as her slightly (only slightly) more malleable sister Tisbe. Enrique Mazzola in the pit controls the occasionally complicated happenings on stage with firmness. It’s not just the movements which tie themselves into knots – Keith Bernson’s lighting has a large part to play.
A party of primary school children – who had themselves made their own version of the opera as part of the Norfolk Schools Project – was in the audience on the Norwich first night. Their rapt attention and enthusiastic response are object lessons to their elders. Who said that opera couldn't be fun? I think these 500 young people might disagree. Strongly.
- by Anne Morley-Priestman Related Content
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