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 Performances

Arabella in San Francisco

A great big guy in a great big fur coat falls in love with the photo of the worldly daughter of a compulsive gambler. A great big conductor promotes the maelstrom of great big music that shepherds all this to ecstatic conclusion.

Two falls out of three for Britten in Seattle Screw

The miasma of doom that pervades the air of the great house of Bly seems to seep slowly into the auditorium, dulling the senses, weighing down the mind. What evil lurks here? Can these people be saved? Do we care?

Pascal Dusapin’s Passion at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Ten years ago, I saw one of the first performances of Pascal Dusapin’s Passion at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Now, Music Theatre Wales and National Dance Company Wales give the opera its first United Kingdom production - in an English translation by Amanda Holden from the original Italian: the first time, I believe, that a Dusapin opera has been performed in translation. (I shall admit to a slight disappointment that it was not in Welsh: maybe next time.)

Tosca in San Francisco

The story was bigger than its actors, the Tosca ritual was ignored. It wasn’t a Tosca for the ages though maybe it was (San Francisco’s previous Tosca production hung around for 95 years). P.S. It was an evening of powerful theater, and incidentally it was really good opera.

Fine performances in uneven War Requiem at the Concertgebouw

At the very least, that vehement, pacifist indictment against militarism, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, should leave the audience shaking a little. This performance by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra only partially succeeded in doing so. The cast credits raised the highest expectations, but Gianandrea Noseda, stepping in for an ailing Mariss Jansons and conducting the RCO for the first time, did not bring out the full potential at his disposal.

The Tallis Scholars at Cadogan Hall

In their typical non-emphatic way, the Tallis Scholars under Peter Phillips presented here a selection of English sacred music from the Eton Choirbook to Tallis. There was little to ruffle anyone’s feathers here, little in the way of overt ‘interpretation’ – certainly in a modern sense – but ample opportunity to appreciate the mastery on offer in this music, its remoteness from many of our present concerns, and some fine singing.

Dido and Aeneas: Academy of Ancient Music

“Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.” Well, the spectral Queen of Carthage atop the poppy-strewn sarcophagus wasn’t quite yet “laid in earth”, but the act of remembering, and remembrance, duly began during the first part of this final instalment of the Academy of Ancient Music’s Purcell trilogy at the Barbican Hall.

Poignantly human – Die Zauberflöte, La Monnaie

Mozart Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) at La Monnaie /De Munt, Brussels, conducted by Antonello Manacorda, directed by Romeo Castellucci. Part allegory, part Singspeile, and very much a morality play, Die Zauberflöte is not conventional opera in the late 19th century style. Naturalist realism is not what it's meant to be. Cryptic is closer to what it might mean.

Covent Garden: Wagner’s Siegfried, magnificent but elusive

How do you begin to assess Covent Garden’s Siegfried? From a purely vocal point of view, this was a magnificent evening; it’s hard not to reach the conclusion that this was as fine a cast as you are likely to hear anywhere today.

Powerful Monodramas: Zender, Manoury and Schoenberg

The concept of the monologue in opera has existed since the birth of opera itself, but when we come to monodramas - with the exception of Rousseau’s Pygmalion (1762) - we are looking at something that originated at the beginning of the twentieth century.

ENO's Salome both intrigues and bewilders

Femme fatale, femme nouvelle, she-devil: the personification of patriarchal castration-anxiety and misogynistic terror of female desire.

In the Company of Heaven: The Cardinall's Musick at Wigmore Hall

Palestrina led from the front, literally and figuratively, in this performance at Wigmore Hall which placed devotion to the saints at its heart, with Saints Peter, Paul, Catherine of Alexandria, Bartholomew and the Virgin Mary all musically honoured by The Cardinall’s Musick and their director Andrew Carwood.

Roberto Devereux in San Francisco

Opera’s triple crown, Donizetti’s tragic queens — Anna Bolena who was beheaded by her husband Henry VIII, their daughter Elizabeth I who beheaded her rival Mary, Queen of Scots and who executed her lover Roberto Devereux.

O18: Queens Tries Royally Hard

Opera Philadelphia is lightening up the fare at its annual festival with a three evening cabaret series in the Theatre of Living Arts, Queens of the Night.

O18 Magical Mystery Tour: Glass Handel

How to begin to quantify the wonderment stirred in my soul by Opera Philadelphia’s sensational achievement that is Glass Handel?

A lunchtime feast of English song: Lucy Crowe and Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall

The September sunshine that warmed Wigmore Street during Monday’s lunch-hour created the perfect ambience for this thoughtfully compiled programme of seventeenth- and twentieth-century English song presented by soprano Lucy Crowe and pianist Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall.

O18: Mad About Lucia

Opera Philadelphia has mounted as gripping and musically ravishing an account of Lucia di Lammermoor as is imaginable.

O18 Poulenc Evening: Moins C’est Plus

In Opera Philadelphia’s re-imagined La voix humaine, diva Patricia Racette had a tough “act” to follow ...

O18: Unsettling, Riveting Sky on Swings

Opera Philadelphia’s annual festival set the bar very high even by its own gold standard, with a troubling but mesmerizing world premiere, Sky on Wings.

Simon Rattle — Birtwistle, Holst, Turnage, and Britten

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra marked the opening of the 2018-2019 season with a blast. Literally, for Sir Harrison Birtwistle's new piece Donum Simoni MMXVIII was an explosion of brass — four trumpets, trombones, horns and tuba, bursting into the Barbican Hall. When Sir Harry makes a statement, he makes it big and bold !

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Daniela Mack and Alek Shrader as Angelina and Don Ramiro [Photo by Tim Trumble]
14 Apr 2017

Cinderella Enchants Phoenix

At Phoenix’s Symphony Hall on Friday evening April 7, Arizona Opera offered its final presentation of the 2016-2017 season, Gioachino Rossini’s Cinderella (La Cenerentola). The stars of the show were Daniela Mack as Cinderella, called Angelina in the opera, and Alek Shrader as Don Ramiro. Actually, Mack and Shrader are married couple who met singing these same roles at San Francisco Opera.

Cinderella Enchants Phoenix

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Daniela Mack and Alek Shrader as Angelina and Don Ramiro

Photos by Tim Trumble

 

Stage Director Crystal Manich’s most amusing, well thought out production featured elegant tall building facades from Kentucky Opera that were easily turned around to produce different settings. Designer Kathleen Trott dressed Don Magnifico and his “ugly” daughters in clashing bright colors and textures. The sisters had huge feathers protruding from their coiffures. Don Ramiro and his entourage wore black and white, while the oppressed Angelina wore neutrals. The external settings were serene but the interiors, like their residents, had a great deal of agitation inside them.

Manich directed a group of principals, some of whom were familiar with their roles and had performed them many times. Others, who came from the Arizona Opera Marion Roose Pullin Studio, were singing them for the first time. Two of these young artists showed a great deal of promise. As Dandini, the valet, Joseph Lattanzi sang some incredible coloratura. So did Katrina Galka as Clorinda who sang many fiorature or vocal decorations in her character’s difficult, seldom-performed aria, “Sventurata mi credea” (“I thought I was unlucky”). The stepsisters were expected to create an atmosphere of hilarity. Galka’s Clorinda and Mariya Kaganskaya’s Tisbe kept the laughs coming.

Cinderella-6.pngJoseph Lattanzi, Alek Shrader, Daniela Mack, Mariya Kaganskaya, Stefano de Peppo and Katrina Glaka as Dandini, Don Ramiro, Angelina, Tisbe, Don Magnifico and Clorinda

Together, this group of fine artists produced a comic whole that will be remembered long after they have departed for their next engagements. As Angelina, Daniela Mack had a strong voice that cut through the orchestra instead of being heard over it, and featured a huge gleaming bloom above the staff. As Don Ramiro, Alek Shrader’s voice was more lyrical. He sang his long melodic lines with a delightfully sweet, open sound and impeccable coloratura.

Stefano de Peppo who has sung Don Magnifico around the world and across the United States, is known for his large, robust bass-baritone voice. It was fascinating to see him do this role in two different conceptions of the opera, last fall at San Diego Opera and this spring at Arizona Opera. The San Diego company performed a shorter, happier version that cut references to Don Magnifico having supported his household on Angelina’s inheritance. By including that information, Arizona Opera gave good reasons for the Don’s cruelty toward one of his daughters. Best of all, the longer version of the score allowed De Peppo to sing more of his incredibly accurate patter. As the tutor, Alidoro, Zachary Owen was a somewhat mysterious scholar who did not need magic to bring about the fairy tale’s happy ending.

Cinderella-18.pngMariya Kaganskaya and Katrina Galka as Tisbe and Clorinda

Directed by Henri Venanzi, male members of AZ Opera chorus rendered their harmonious music in royal style. Conductor Dean Williamson's orchestra sounded a bit rough at the beginning of the overture and the singers’ opening lines were slightly off the beat. For the rest of the performance, however, stage and pit were in perfect coordination. I love Williamson’s version of this opera. Clorinda’s aria was a gem to be treasured. This performance of Cinderella was a delight for young and old alike. Both age groups were well represented in this enthusiastic audience.

Maria Nockin


Cast and production information:

Cinderella/Angelina, Daniela Mack; Don Ramiro, Alek Shrader; Dandini, Joseph Lattanzi; Don Magnifico, Stefano de Peppo; Clorinda, Katrina Galka; Tisbe, Mariya Kagankaya; Alidoro, Zachary Owen. Conductor, Dean Williamson; Stage Director, Crystal Manich, Costume Designer Kathleen Trott; Lighting Designer, Gregory Allen Hirsch; Chorus Master, Henri Venanzi.

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):