Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Recordings

Two song cycles by Sir Arthur Somervell: Roderick Williams and Susie Allan

Robert Browning, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Charles Kingsley, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, A.E. Housman … the list of those whose work Sir Arthur Somervell (1863-1937) set to music, in his five song-cycles, reads like a roll call of Victorian poetry - excepting the Edwardian Housman.

Roger Quilter: The Complete Quilter Songbook, Vol. 3

Mark Stone and Stephen Barlow present Volume 3 in their series The Complete Roger Quilter Songbook, on Stone Records.

Richard Danielpour – The Passion of Yeshua

A contemporary telling of the Passion story which uses texts from both the Christian and the Jewish traditions to create a very different viewpoint.

Les Talens Lyriques: 18th-century Neapolitan sacred works

In 1770, during an extended tour of France and Italy to observe the ‘present state of music’ in those two countries, the English historian, critic and composer Charles Burney spent a month in Naples - a city which he noted (in The Present State of Music in France and Italy (1771)) ‘has so long been regarded as the centre of harmony, and the fountain from whence genius, taste, and learning, have flowed to every other part of Europe.’

Herbert Howells: Missa Sabrinensis revealed in its true glory

At last, Herbert Howells’s Missa Sabrinensis (1954) with David Hill conducting the Bach Choir, with whom David Willcocks performed the piece at the Royal Festival Hall in 1982. Willcocks commissioned this Mass for the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester in 1954, when Howells himself conducted the premiere.

Le Banquet Céleste: Stradella's San Giovanni Battista

The life of Alessandro Stradella was characterised by turbulence, adventure and amorous escapades worthy of an opera libretto. Indeed, at least seven composers have turned episodes from the 17th-century Italian composer’s colourful life into operatic form, the best known being Flotow whose three-act comic opera based on the Lothario’s misadventures was first staged in Hamburg in 1844.

Ethel Smyth: Songs and Ballads - a new recording from SOMM

In 1877, Ethel Smyth, aged just nineteen, travelled to Leipzig to begin her studies at the German town’s Music Conservatory, having finally worn down the resistance of her father, General J.H. Smyth.

Wagner: Excerpts from Der Ring des Niebelungen, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi, RCA-Sony

This new recording of excerpts from Wagner’s Der Ring des Niebelungen is quite exceptional - and very unusual for this kind of disc. The words might be missing, but the fact they are proves to have rather the opposite effect. It is one of the most operatic of orchestral Wagner discs I have come across.

Wagner: Die Walküre, Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Simon Rattle, BR Klassik

Simon Rattle has never particularly struck me as a complex conductor. He is not, for example, like Furtwängler, Maderna, Boulez or Sinopoli - all of whom brought a breadth of learning and a knowledge of composition to bear on what they conducted.

Dvořák Requiem, Jakub Hrůša in memoriam Jiří Bělohlávek

Antonín Dvořák Requiem op.89 (1890) with Jakub Hrůša conducting the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The Requiem was one of the last concerts Jiří Bělohlávek conducted before his death and he had been planning to record it as part of his outstanding series for Decca.

Schumann Symphonies, influenced by song

John Eliot Gardiner's Schumann series with the London Symphony Orchestra, demonstrate the how Schumann’s Lieder and piano music influenced his approach to symphonic form and his interests in music drama.

Unusual and beautiful: Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla conducts the music of Raminta Šerkšnytė

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla conducts the music of Raminta Šerkšnytė with the Kremerata Baltica, in this new release from Deutsche Grammophon.

Diana Damrau sings Richard Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder on Erato

“How weary we are of wandering/Is this perhaps death?” These closing words of ‘Im Abendrot’, the last of Richard Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder, and the composer’s own valedictory work, now seem unusually poignant since they stand as an epitaph to Mariss Jansons’s final Strauss recording.

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 3 & 4 from Hyperion

Latest in the highly acclaimed Hyperion series of Ralph Vaughan Williams symphonies, Symphonies no 3 and 4, with Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, recorded in late 2018 after a series of live performances.

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Thomanerchor and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

This Accentus release of J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, recorded live on 15/16th December 2018 at St. Thomas’s Church Leipzig, takes the listener ‘back to Bach’, so to speak.

Retrospect Opera's new recording of Ethel Smyth's Fête Galante

Writing in April 1923 in The Bookman, of which he was editor, about Ethel Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate (1913-14) - the most frequently performed of the composer’s own operas during her lifetime - Rodney Bennett reflected on the principal reasons for the general neglect of Smyth’s music in her native land.

A compelling new recording of Bruckner's early Requiem

The death of his friend and mentor Franz Seiler, notary at the St Florian monastery to which he had returned as a teaching assistant in 1845, was the immediate circumstance which led the 24-year-old Anton Bruckner to compose his first large-scale sacred work: the Requiem in D minor for soloists, choir, organ continuo and orchestra, which he completed on 14th March 1849.

Emmerich Kálmán: Ein Herbstmanöver

Brilliant Emmerich Kálmán’s Ein Herbstmanöver from the Stadttheater, Giessen in 2018, conducted by Michael Hofstetter now on Oehms Classics, in a performing version by Balázs Kovalik.

Liszt Petrarca Sonnets complete – Andrè Schuen, Daniel Heide

An ambitious new series focusing on the songs of Franz Liszt, starting with all three versions of the Tre Sonetti del Petrarca, (Petrarca Sonnets), S.270a, S.270b and S.161 with Andrè Schuen and Daniel Heide for Avi-music.de.

Une soirée chez Berlioz – lyrical rarities, on Berlioz’s own guitar

Une soirée chez Berlioz – an evening with Berlioz, songs for voice, piano and guitar, with Stéphanie D’Oustrac, Thibaut Roussel (guitar), and Tanguy de Williencourt (piano).

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Recordings

Gioachino Rossini: La Cenerentola
12 Nov 2006

ROSSINI: La Cenerentola

Putting the “grim” into a classic fairy tale (whether the Brothers Grimm's or not), this Glyndebourne La Cenerentola from the 2005 festival season establishes a drab, dark mood in its first scenes.

Gioachino Rossini: La Cenerentola

Raquela Sheeran. Lucia Cirillo, Ruxandra Donose, Nathan Berg, Luciano di Pasquale, Maxim Mironov, Simone Alberghini, London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Glyndebourne Chorus, Vladimir Jurowski (cond.)

Opus Arte OA 0944 D [DVD]

$35.99  Click to buy

Shades of brown — think the “dun” of Shakesperae's time - dominate the scenery and costumes. Though Angelina (the title character) and her nasty half-sisters dress much as they always do, the unpaternal father figure, Don Magnifico, makes for an unappetizing sight, in his stained and worn clothes, too tight on his large frame, and scruffy, unshaven pudgeball of a face. All his money goes to his two female brats, it seems. meanwhile, in disguise as his master, Alidoro makes for a natty gentleman, and Don Ramiro's stringy dirty blond hair and bland attire make him a more than credible servant figure.

Viewers impatient or displeased by the murkiness of Sir Peter Hall's staging (costumes by Moritz Junge and set by Hildegard Bechter) should exert their patience, as the show gets noticeably brighter and much funnier in act two. Luciano Di Pasquale, the burly, brutish Don Magnifico, in particular comes into his own and makes his seedy, self-centered character into a more enjoyably comic villain. Nathan Berg, who hams it up a touch too much in act one, always sings attractively, as do Raquela Sheeran and Lucia Cirillo as the two sisters, who must somehow be both unappealing and yet possibly “princess” material. Hall does surprisingly little with Dandini, the opera's “fairy godmother” character, and the excellent Simone Alberghini tends to fade into the background too often.

The opera world currently enjoys a boom in promising tenors, especially in the lyric fach, led by superstar Juan Diego Florez. Maxim Mironov takes on a role Florez has made his own — Don Ramiro, Angelina's prince Charming. He has a solid if not spectacular technique, and that sweet, tangy tone of a true Rossini tenor. A subtle, engaged actor, Mironov inhabits the role with grace.

A more qualified success, Ruxandra Donose sings Angelina with a surprisingly deep, even chesty mezzo. Slim and attractive, with an appropriately demure demeanor at first, Donose manages to be represent her character's pathetic state without engaging the audience's sympathy. Her final showpiece has an air of forced elation, which may be due to the dark edges director Hall has cast throughout the evening. The stage even goes almost completely into blackout in some ensembles.

Young, almost amusingly handsome and self-possessed, conductor Vladimir Jurowski conducts with a lightness and grasp of dynamics that the London Philharmonic orchestra responds to energetically. In a 25-minute accompanying feature, he and director Hall share various unsurprising insights.

So not a great Cenerentola, but an interesting and occasionally quite enjoyable one.

Chris Mullins

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):