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 Reviews

Rising Stars in Concert 2018 at Lyric Opera of Chicago

On a recent weekend evening the performers in the current roster of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago presented a concert of operatic selections showcasing their musical talents. The Lyric Opera Orchestra accompanied the performers and was conducted by Edwin Outwater.

Arizona Opera Presents a Glittering Rheingold

On April 6, 2018, Arizona Opera presented an uncut performance of Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold. It was the first time in two decades that this company had staged a Ring opera.

Handel's Teseo brings 2018 London Handel Festival to a close

The 2018 London Handel Festival drew to a close with this vibrant and youthful performance (the second of two) at St George’s Church, Hanover Square, of Handel’s Teseo - the composer’s third opera for London after Rinaldo (1711) and Il pastor fido (1712), which was performed at least thirteen times between January and May 1713.

Camille Saint-Saens: Mélodies avec orchestra

Saint-Saëns Mélodies avec orchestra with Yann Beuron and Tassis Christoyannis with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana conducted by Markus Poschner.

The Moderate Soprano

The Moderate Soprano and the story of Glyndebourne: love, opera and Nazism in David Hare’s moving play

The Spirit of England: the BBCSO mark the centenary of the end of the Great War

Well, it was Friday 13th. I returned home from this moving and inspiring British-themed concert at the Barbican Hall in which the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Sir Andrew Davis had marked the centenary of the end of World War I, to turn on my lap-top and discover that the British Prime Minister had authorised UK armed forces to participate with French and US forces in attacks on Syrian chemical weapon sites.

Thomas Adès conducts Stravinsky's Perséphone at the Royal Festival Hall

This seemed a timely moment for a performance of Stravinsky’s choral ballet, Perséphone. April, Eliot’s ‘cruellest month’, has brought rather too many of Chaucer’s ‘sweet showers [to] pierce the ‘drought of March to the root’, but as the weather finally begins to warms and nature stirs, what better than the classical myth of the eponymous goddess’s rape by Pluto and subsequent rescue from Hades, begetting the eternal rotation of the seasons, to reassure us that winter is indeed over and the spirit of spring is engendering the earth.

Dido and Aeneas: La Nuova Musica at Wigmore Hall

This performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas by La Nuova Musica, directed by David Bates, was, characteristically for this ensemble, alert to musical details, vividly etched and imaginatively conceived.

Bernstein's MASS at the Royal Festival Hall

In 1969, Mrs Aristotle Onassis commissioned a major composition to celebrate the opening of a new arts centre in Washington, DC - the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, named after her late husband, President John F. Kennedy, who had been assassinated six years earlier.

Hans Werner Henze : The Raft of the Medusa, Amsterdam

This is a landmark production of Hans Werner Henze's Das Floß der Medusa (The Raft of the Medusa) conducted by Ingo Metzmacher in Amsterdam earlier this month, with Dale Duesing (Charon), Bo Skovhus and Lenneke Ruiten, with Cappella Amsterdam, the Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderen Jeugdkoor, and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, in a powerfully perceptive staging by Romeo Castellucci.

Johann Sebastian Bach, St John Passion, BWV 245

This was the first time, I think, since having moved to London that I had attended a Bach Passion performance on Good Friday here.

Easter Voices, including mass settings by Mozart and Stravinsky

It was a little early, perhaps, to be hearing ‘Easter Voices’ in the middle of Holy Week. However, this was not especially an Easter programme – and, in any case, included two pieces from Gesualdo’s Tenebrae responsories for Good Friday. Given the continued vileness of the weather, a little foreshadowing of something warmer was in any case most welcome. (Yes, I know: I should hang my head in Lenten shame.)

Academy of Ancient Music: St John Passion at the Barbican Hall

‘In order to preserve the good order in the Churches, so arrange the music that it shall not last too long, and shall be of such nature as not to make an operatic impression, but rather incite the listeners to devotion.’

Fiona Shaw's The Marriage of Figaro returns to the London Coliseum

The white walls of designer Peter McKintosh’s Ikea-maze are still spinning, the ox-skulls are still louring, and the servants are still eavesdropping, as Fiona Shaw’s 2011 production of The Marriage of Figaro returns to English National Opera for its second revival. Or, perhaps one should say that the servants are still sleeping - slumped in corridors, snoozing in chairs, snuggled under work-tables - for at times this did seem a rather soporific Figaro under Martyn Brabbins’ baton.

Lenten Choral Music from the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge

Time was I could hear the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge almost any evening I chose, at least during term time. (If I remember correctly, Mondays were reserved for the mixed voice King’s Voices.)

A New Faust at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s innovative, new production of Charles Gounod’s Faust succeeds on multiple levels of musical and dramatic representation. The title role is sung by Benjamin Bernheim, his companion in adventure Méphistophélès is performed by Christian Van Horn.

Netrebko rules at the ROH in revival of Phyllida Lloyd's Macbeth

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a play of the night: of dark interiors and shadowy forests. ‘Light thickens, and the crow/Makes wing to th’ rooky wood,’ says Macbeth, welcoming the darkness which, whether literal or figurative, is thrillingly and threateningly palpable.

San Diego’s Ravishing Florencia

Daniel Catán’s widely celebrated opera, Florencia en el Amazonas received a top tier production at the wholly rejuvenated San Diego Opera company.

Samantha Hankey wins Glyndebourne Opera Cup

Four singers were awarded prizes at the inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup, which reached its closing stage at Glyndebourne on 24th March. The Glyndebourne Opera Cup focuses on a different single composer or strand of the repertoire each time it is held. In 2018 the featured composer was Mozart and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment accompanied the ten finalists.

Handel's first 'Israelite oratorio': Esther at the London Handel Festival

It’s sometimes suggested that it was the simultaneous decline of the popularity of Italian opera seria among Georgian audiences and, in consequence, of the fortunes of Handel’s Royal Academy King’s Theatre, that led the composer to turn his hand to oratorio in English, the genre which would endear him to the hearts of the nation.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

27 Oct 2016

San Diego Opera Presents Charming Cinderella

On Saturday, October 22, San Diego Opera opened its main stage season with Rossini’s comic opera, Cinderella (La Cenerentola). Lindy Hume’s production had already worked it intrinsic magic in Australia, New Zealand, and Leipzig, Germany but this was its first run of performances in the United States.

La cenerentola in San Diego

A review by Marua Nockin

Above: Lauren McNeecey as Cinderella [All photos by J. Katarzyna Woronowicz Johnson, courtesy of San Diego Opera]

 

On Saturday, October 22, San Diego Opera opened its main stage season with Rossini’s comic opera, Cinderella (La Cenerentola). I saw the performance on the following Tuesday. Lindy Hume’s production had already worked it intrinsic magic in Australia, New Zealand, and Leipzig, Germany but this was its first run of performances in the United States. Hume is the artistic director of Opera Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Her stage direction makes use of almost every kind of comedy that can be invoked on the opera stage and she kept varying each artist’s movements so that nothing was ever repeated. If a member of the audience looked away for even a moment he missed something. Dan Potra, who designed The Barber of Seville for Houston Grand Opera created the designs for Cinderella’s scenery and costumes.

The curtain opens upon a wall of library shelves. In this version of the opera, Don Magnifico, the father of Cinderella and ugly sisters Tisbe and Clorinda, owns a general store. He and his daughters live above it. The store contains all sorts of items, both useful and imaginative. Other scenes are denoted with appropriate decor. Potra’s costumes ranged from clownish togs for Magnifico and the ugly sisters, to a red velvet suit for Dandini as the false prince and a gorgeous dark blue ball gown for soon-to-be Princess Angelina.

Cinderella_Nocklin2.pngScenic and Costume Designer, Dan Potra

For all this fun and games, Egyptian-born bass-baritone Ashraf Sewailam as the prince’s tutor, Alidoro, was the only straight man. He sang with stentorian dark tones and maintained a singular dignity throughout the evening. In many ways, the charismatic presence of this artist kept the production centered and allowed the comedy to go on around him.

Lauren McNeece was a sweet Cinderella whose sisters bullied her constantly and whose father denied her paternity. For most of the opera she sang with a sweet lyrical sound. At the finale, however, she let loose and sang her high notes with unfettered full rich tones that I never suspected she had hidden all along. As her future husband, Don Ramiro, David Portillo negotiated his difficult coloratura line with exquisite grace and delightful lyricism. Right now, the opera world is blessed with tenors who can sing coloratura and it is a joy to see them spread their wings and fly with the most complicated Rossini roles.

Susannah Biller and Alissa Anderson were the “ugly” sisters Clorinda and Tisbe. They were always amusing and they earned a few laughs with their antics. Most importantly, they were never strident, a difficult feat in those roles. Either of them could be the next Angelina. Italian bass Stefano de Peppo is a gifted commedian and a past master of the fast “patter” that many of Rossini’s comic roles demand. Already dressed for laughs, he made Magnifico real by ever-so-lightly underplaying the part.

Although Los Angeles Opera Young Artist Program alumnus José Adán Pérez was already well known in Southern California, this was his San Diego Opera debut. He was a no-holds-barred Dandini who wanted Cinderella for himself. He sang with an opulent light baritone sound as he made his character realize that although he was a high level servant, he was a servant nonetheless.

Chorus Master Bruce Stasyna made his debut directing the all male ensemble who sometimes danced and at other times goose stepped as an amusing group of serving men and whiskered “women.” Gary Thor Wedow conducted the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in a well-paced translucent reading of Rossini’s elegant score. Patrons heard a multiplicity of interesting sonorities from the lower as well as the higher and brighter-sounding instruments. It was good to be back at the Civic Theatre and to realize that San Diego Opera is again on a firm footing in its community. I look forward to the chamber opera, Soldier Songs, next month and to more main stage productions in 2017.

Maria Nockin


Cast and production information:

Cast and Production Information:

Conductor, Gary Thor Wedow; Director, Lindy Hume; Scenic and Costume Designer, Dan Potra; Lighting Designer, Matthew Marshall; Wig and Makeup Designer, Stephen Bryant; Chorus Master, Bruce Stasyna; Pianist, Catherine Miller; Movement Coach, Bernadette Torres; Supertitles, Lindy Hume and Navelle French; Clorinda, Susannah Biller; Tisbe, Alisa Anderson; Cinderella/Angelina, Lauren McNeece; Alidoro, Ashraf Sewailam; Don Magnifico, Stefano de Peppo; Don Ramiro, David Portillo; Dandini, José Adán Pérez.


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):