Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

Will Don Quichotte Be the Last Production at San Diego Opera?

This quotation from Cervantes was displayed before the opening of the opera’s final scene:

“The greatest madness a man can commit in this life is to let himself die, just like that, without anybody killing him or any other hands ending his life except those of melancholy.”

Gound Faust - Calleja and Terfel, Royal Opera House London

Gounod's Faust makes a much welcomed return to the Royal Opera House. With each new cast, the dynamic changes as the balance between singers shifts and brings out new insights. In that sense, every revival is an opportunity to revisit from new perspectives. This time Bryn Terfel sang Méphistophélès, with Joseph Calleja as Faust - stars whose allure certainly helped fill the hall to capacity. And the audience enjoyed a very good show.

Syracuse Opera’s Porgy and Bess
Got Plenty O’ Plenty

The company ends its 2013-14 season on a high note with a staged performance of Gershwin’s theatrical masterpiece

A New Rusalka in Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of Antonin Dvorak’s Rusalka is visually impressive and fulfills all possible expectations musically with unquestioned excitement.

Karlsruhe’s Mixed Blessing Ballo

The reliable Badisches Staatstheater has assembled plenty of talent for its new Un Ballo in Maschera.

Louise Alder, Wigmore Hall

This varied, demanding programme indisputably marked soprano Louise Alder as a name to watch.

Luke Bedford: Through His Teeth, Linbury, Royal Opera House

Can this be the best British opera in years? Luke Bedford’s Through His Teeth at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre is exceptional. Drop everything and go.

Powder Her Face, ENO

As one descends the steel steps into the cavernous bunker of Ambika P3, one seems about to enter rather insalubrious realms — just right one might imagine, then, for an opera which delves into the depths of the seedier side of celebrity life.

Iphigénie Fascinates in the Pfalz

Kaiserslautern’s Pfalztheater has produced a tantalizing realization of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide, characterized by intriguing staging, appealing designs, and best of all, superlative musical standards.

ROH presents Cavalli’s L’Ormindo at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London

Never thought I’d say it but......

Harrison Birtwistle, Elliott Carter, Wigmore Hall, London

Celebrating the 80th birthday of one of the UK's greatest composers (if not the greatest), this concert was an intriguing, and not always stimulating, mix. Birtwistle with Carter makes sense, but Birtwistle with Adams does not - or at least only within the remit of the concert series. The concert was actually entitled “Nash Inventions: American and British Masterworks, including an 80th Birthday Tribute to Sir Harrison Birtwistle” and was the final concert in the “Inventions” series.

Requiem for a Lost Opera Company

On Wednesday, March 19, 2014, General Director Ian Campbell of San Diego Opera announced that the company would go out of business at the end of this season. The next day the company performed their long-planned Verdi Requiem with a stellar cast including soprano Krassimira Stoyanova, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, tenor Piotr Beczala, and bass Ferruccio Furlanetto.

The Met’s Werther a tasty mix of singing, staging, acting and orchestral splendor

Visual elements in Richard Eyre’s striking production offset Massenet’s melodic shortcomings

Chicago’s New Barber of Seville

New productions of repertoire staples such as Gioachino Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia bear much anticipation for both performers and staging.

Lucia in LA: A Performance to Remember

On March 15, 2014, Los Angeles Opera presented Elkhanah Pulitzer’s production of the opera, which she set in 1885 when women were beginning to be recognized as persons separate from their fathers, brothers and husbands. At that time many European countries were beginning to allow women to own property, obtain higher education, and choose their husbands.

San Diego Opera Presents an All Star Ballo in Maschera

On March 11, 2014, San Diego Opera presented Verdi’s A Masked Ball in a traditional production by Leslie Koenig. Metropolitan Opera star tenor Piotr Beczala was Gustav III, the king of Sweden, and Krassimira Stoyanova gave an insightful portrayal of Amelia, his troubled but innocent love interest.

Anne Schwanewilms, Wigmore Hall

From the moment she walked, resplendent in red, onto the Wigmore Hall platform, Anne Schwanewilms radiated a captivating presence — one that kept the audience enthralled throughout this magnificent programme of Romantic song.

Die Frau ohne Schatten, Royal Opera

Magnificent! Following the first night of this new production of Die Frau ohne Schatten, I quipped that I could forgive an opera house anything for musical performance at this level, whether orchestral, vocal, or, in this case, both.

La Fille du regiment, Royal Opera

Donizetti’s opera comique La Fille du regiment returned to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, for its third revival.

Schoenberg and company

With Schoenberg, I tend to take every opportunity I can — at least since my first visit to the Salzburg Festival, when understandably I chose to see Figaro over Boulez conducting Moses und Aron, though I have rued the loss ever since.

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):