Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

Pacific Opera Project Recreates Mozart and Salieri Contest

On February 7, 1786, Emperor Joseph II of Austria had brand new one-act operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri performed in the Schönbrunn Palace’s Orangery.

Powerful chemistry in La Cenerentola in Cologne

Those poor opera lovers in Cologne have a never ending problem with the city’s opera house. Together with the rest of city, the construction of the new opera house is mired in political incompetence.

Tannhäuser: Royal Opera House, London

London remains starved of Wagner. This season, its major companies offer but two works, Tannhäuser from the Royal Opera and Tristan from ENO.

The Golden Cockerel in Düsseldorf

Dmitry Bertman’s hilarious staging of Rimsky-Korsakov’s political sex-comedy The Golden Cockerel in Düsseldorf.

San Diego Opera Presents a Tragic Madama Butterfly

On April 16, 2016, San Diego Opera presented Giacomo Puccini’s sixth opera, Madama Butterfly, in an intriguing production by Garnett Bruce. Roberto Oswald’s scenery included the usual Japanese styled house with many sliding doors and walls. On either side, however, were blooming cherry trees with rough trunks and gnarled branches that looked as though they had been growing on the property for a hundred years.

Simon Rattle conducts Tristan und Isolde

New Co-Production Tristan und Isolde with Metropolitan: Simon Rattle and Westbroek electrify Treliński’s Opera-Noir.

San Jose’s Smooth Streetcar Ride

In an operatic world crowded with sure-fire bread and butter repertoire, Opera San Jose has boldly chosen to lavish a new production on a dark horse, Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire.

Roméo et Juliette: Dutch National Opera and Ballet seal merger with leaden Berlioz

Choral symphony, oratorio, symphonic poem — Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette does not fit into any mould. It has the potential to work as an opera-ballet, but incoherent storytelling and uninspired conducting undermined this production.

Donizetti : Lucia di Lammermoor, Royal Opera House

When Kasper Holten took the precaution of pre-warning ticket-holders that the Royal Opera House’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor featured scene portraying ‘sexual acts’ and ‘violence’, one assumed that he was aiming to avert a re-run of the jeering and hectoring that accompanied last season’s Guillaume Tell. He even went so far as to offer concerned patrons a refund.

Five Reviews of Regina at Maryland Opera Studio

These are five very different reviews by students at the University of Maryland on its Opera Studio production of Regina — an interesting, informative and entertaining read . . .

Three Cheers for the English Touring Opera

‘Remember me, the one who is Pia;/ Siena made me, Maremma undid me.’ The speaker is Pia de’ Tolomei. She appears in a brief episode of Dante’s Divine Comedy (Purgatorio V, 130-136) which was the source for Gaetano Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei - by way of Bartolomeo Sestini’s verse-novella of 1825.

Andriessen's De Materie at the Park Avenue Armory

"The large measure of formalism which forms the basis of De Materie does not in itself offer any guarantee that the work will be beautiful," says Dutch composer Louis Andriessen of his four-movement opera.

Falstaff Makes a Big Splash in Phoenix

On April 1, 2016, Arizona Opera presented Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) and Arrigo Boito (1842-1918) in Phoenix. Although Boito based most of his libretto on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, he used material from Henry IV as well. Verdi wrote the music when he was close to the age of eighty. He was concerned about his ability at that advanced age, but he was immensely pleased with Boito’s text and decided to compose his second comedy, despite the fact that his first, Un giorno di regno, had not been successful.

Svadba in San Francisco

The brand new SF Opera Lab opened last month with artist William Kentridge’s staged Schubert Winterreise. Its second production just now, Svadba-Wedding — an a cappella opera for six female voices — unabashedly exposes the space in a different, non-theatrical configuration.

Benvenuto Cellini in Rome

One may think of Tosca as the most Roman of all operas, after all it has been performed at the Teatro Costanzi (Rome’s opera house) well over a thousand times since 1900. Though equally, maybe even more Roman is Hector Berlioz’ Benvenuto Cellini that has had only a dozen or so performances in Rome since 1838.

Handel : Elpidia - Opera Settecento

Roll up! A new opera by Handel is to be performed, L’Elpidia overo li rivali generosi. It is based upon a libretto by Apostolo Zeno with music by Leonardo Vinci - excepting a couple of arias by Giuseppe Orlandini and, additionally, two from Antonio Lotti’s Teofane (which the star bass, Giuseppe Maria Boschi , on bringing with him from the Dresden production of 1719).

Roberto Devereux in Genova

Radvanovsky in New York, Devia in Genoa — Donizetti queens are indeed in the news! Just now in Genoa Mariella Devia was the Elizabeth I for her beloved Roberto Devereux in a new trilogy of Donizetti queens (Maria Stuarda and Anne Bolena) directed by baritone Alfonso Antoniozzi.

The Importance of Being Earnest, Royal Opera

‘All men become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That is his.’ ‘Is that clever?’ ‘It is perfectly phrased!’

Mahler’s Third, Concertgebouw

Evolving in Mahler’s Third: Dudamel and L.A. Philharmonic’s impressive adaption to the Concertgebouw

La Juive in Lyon

Though all big opera is called grand opera, French grand opera itself is a very specific genre. It is an ephemeral style not at all easy to bring to life. For example . . .

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Opera National de Paris/Agathe Poupeney
15 Mar 2013

Cenerentola at Paris Opéra

Rossini's “other” comic masterpiece of 1817 came into the world only a few weeks after the much better known The Barber of Seville. But it has had a place in the repertoire since its premiere.

Cenerentola at Paris Opéra

A review by Paul du Quenoy

Above photo by Opera National de Paris/Agathe Poupeney

 

A version of the enduringly popular Cinderella tale, it famously sheds much of the magic. There is no pumpkin or glass slipper. A fairy godfather takes the place of a fairy godmother. A buffoonishly wicked stepfather fills in for a simply evil wicked stepmother. Still, the opera soared in popularity all over the world (it was the first opera presented in Australia, for example). Nevertheless, it was a relative latecomer to the Paris Opéra, only arriving here only in 1977. The current production, by the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, is even older, dating back to its 1968 premiere at Munich's Bavarian State Opera. Paris audiences only saw this version for the first time when it entered the repertoire last season.

Lately, Cenerentola has enjoyed a renaissance in operatic capitals, with the principal roles going in recent years to such stars as Cecilia Bartoli, Juan Diego Florez, Lawrence Brownlee, and Joyce DiDonato (who will sing the title part at New York's Metropolitan Opera next season). The Opéra's effort is more subdued, though the great basso buffo Simone Alaimo, now a bit worn of voice, shares the role of Don Magnifico. His nephew, baritone Nicola Alaimo, is the alternate cast's Dandini, leading us to wonder what synergies these operatic relatives might make if paired on stage and why they were not. The question lingered in my mind, but the older Alaimo was a tour de force, impossible not to watch in his boorish physical comedy. It is the title role that really sparkles, however, and in the promising young mezzo Serena Malfi the Opéra made a most fortunate casting decision. Lithe lyricism and a purring lower register, together with crystal clear coloratura runs, evoked a young Bartoli. Already scheduled for a Metropolitan Opera debut, the public has much to look forward to in this exciting new artist, who only made her stage debut in 2009 and has room to grow. Tenor Antonio Siragusa has nothing to answer for in a Cenerentola universe dominated by Florez and Brownlee. A fine lyric tenor, he scaled the role's difficult ascents with admirable confidence and enjoyable flair. "Si, ritrovarla io giuro" was easily the evening's highlight among the male singing. Riccardo Novaro's Dandini accomplished this difficult role with zeal — a servant, Dandini must impersonate his master and then switch back again. François Lis's less well articulated legato eviscerated the charm of the fairy godfather Alidoro. Jeannette Fischer and Cornelia Oncioiu played up the comic notes in the stepsister roles of Clorinda and Tisbe. Riccardo Frizza led a delicate and well balanced performance that took appreciable advantage of the Palais Garnier's intimacy. The time may have come for heavier works to be staged there again.

Ponnelle's production, for which he also designed the sets and costumes, looks like a giant dollhouse, with individual rooms in Don Magnifico's run down manor and Don Ramiro's palace emerging from behind sliding screens. It is a bit quaint, but tells the story most effectively and avoids the current preoccupation with overdirecting classic opera.

Paul du Quenoy


Click here for cast and production information.

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):