Thursday, November 18, 2010

‘La Cenerentola’ by Glyndebourne on Tour

18 November 2010

Regular readers may have spotted that I am not a very frequent opera-goer. I think the last full opera I saw was a production of Verdi’s ‘Falstaff’ in Peterborough in about 1996. But, aware of this gap in our cultural landscape, we took the opportunity of the visit of Glyndebourne on Tour to Milton Keynes Theatre last week to dip our toes in the operatic water. We went to see Peter Hall’s production of ‘La Cenerentola’ by Rossini – which we chose as a relatively light reintroduction to opera and one in which we would have no difficulty following the plot (it’s Cinderella – oh yes it is!). This Cinderella is the fairy tale without the magic – a more realistic version of the story without a fairy godmother or any supernatural transformation – and with a pair of bracelets rather than the more familiar glass slippers. It was interesting to compare this take on the tale with Gregory Maguire’s novel 'Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister' (reviewed here in March 2008) which also strips away the supernatural elements of the story, but somehow manages to create something even more magical in the process. ‘La Cenerentola’ was very enjoyable – high production values and an excellent orchestra, conducted by Enrique Mazzola. The singers were very impressive, particularly Allyson McHardy’s coloratura display as Angelina (Cenerentola) and the tenor Luciano Botelho as Don Ramiro (the Prince). And I loved the Glyndebourne Chorus who were powerful, dramatic and very funny. But, on reflection, maybe choosing a work with such a well-known story was a mistake as the plot really seemed to drag. It was an impressive production but didn’t really knock me off my feet.

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