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La Cenerentola (Cinderella) (Plymouth & tour)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This is pure pantomime played for laughs on Hildegard Bechtler’s simple sets (which are strangely noisy to move given the banging and thumping preparing for the wine cellar scene) and in beautifully detailed costume by Moritz Junge.

Glyndebourne debutant mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy excels in the leading role making seemingly simple the vocally demanding role from whimsical fireside solo to fiery grand finale rondo. Her excellence rather overshadows the sweetness of Prince Ramiro (Luciano Botelho)’s tenor while the superb Joan Martin-Royo (the unsuppressable Dandini)’s baritone is a better match.

Bass-baritone Paul Whelan is outstanding as Fairy Godmother-substitute Alidoro in this magic- and glass slipper-free retelling of the classic tale of Cinderella.

Bass-baritone, Glyndebourne stalwart Jonathan Veira throws himself into the highly comedic role of the wicked step-father Magnifico with great gusto and obvious enjoyment ably supported by soprano Anna Siminska and mezzo-soprano Victoria Zaytseva as his grasping, would-be man-eating daughters.

Such was the quality of acting that the flow juddered when suddenly characters sped into position for an ensemble piece although I enjoyed the freeze-frame device for the narration and the fun asides and background moments which add a roundness to what could otherwise become set pieces.

With flamboyant Enrique Mazzola firmly in control in the pit, the nuances of Rossini’s most substantive work are brought sharply to attention with delicate precision.

An entertaining evening with something for all the family.


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