Ensemble

A Mechanical Toy Box

GIUSEPPE PENNISI experiences the revival in Rome
of Rossini's 'La Cenerentola'

 

Normally, I tend to review new productions rather than revivals. However, the revival of Gioacchino Rossini's La Cenerentola for a round of non-subscription performances appeared juicy on two accounts: to reflect on Emma Dante's staging after her work on Prokofiev's L'Angelo di Fuoco - read A Supernatural Glow, 25 May 2019 - and to listen to a different cast and conductor. Hence, on 13 June 2019 I was in the audience. As discussed three years ago - Surrealist Pop, Music & Vision Magazine, 27 January 2016 - La Cenerentola had returned to Teatro dell'Opera after fifteen years of absence and as a part of a program to celebrate Rossini operas especially commissioned by Roman theaters - ie La Cenerentola by Teatro Valle and Il Barbiere di Siviglia by Teatro Argentina. An attraction was that the stage direction had been entrusted to Emma Dante and her team of costume and stage set designers, as well as mimes. Emma Dante is a well-known but controversial stage and movie director with opera experience, especially in Italy and France. (See A Triumph, Music & Vision, 5 February 2015 and A False Start, Music & Vision, 7 December 2009.)

In 2016, I commented that, in Emma Dante's hands, this dramma giocoso - a joyful dramatic action - became a surrealistic pop performance with a fusion of various kinds of musical theatre, from farce to sentimental comedy, and from social criticism to feminist Latin American zarzuelas, from mechanical life-size puppet theatre to plain comedy. After three years, as well as several performances, the various elements have fully amalgamated. In addition, the political overtones and surrealism having faded away, the basic message of victory of virtue over evil is delivered well. The most interesting and entertaining aspect is that rather than as a surrealist plot, the dramma giocoso is rendered in a mechanical toy box. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Certain productions do improve as they age.

Teresa Iervolino in the title role of Rossini's 'La Cenerentola' for Opera Roma. Photo © 2019 Yasuko Kageyama
Teresa Iervolino in the title role of Rossini's La Cenerentola for Opera Roma. Photo © 2019 Yasuko Kageyama

The conductor Stefano Montanari emphasized the rhythmic aspects of the score more than shading the various tints of a dramma giocoso which became almost an opera buffa. The audience loved it, even though I would have preferred a more sophisticated baton. Angelina, the protagonist, was Teresa Iervolino, a good mezzo, as is now the practice in casting this opera. She delivered the taxing final rondo and her part in the dramma giocoso quite well. However, I think that the role would fit an alto better.

The tenor was Maxim Mironov as the Prince Don Ramiro. I remember him in the same role at the Glyndebourne Festival in May 2000, when he was only twenty-two, and at La Fenice in Rossini's Maometto Secondo in 2005. He was almost unknown on major stages. In both circumstances, I foresaw a great career in the lyric coloratura repertory for him. I am glad I was right. Now, he is a Rossini Opera Festival star, and his performance in Rome confirms that he is Juan Diego Flórez's only real successor. He gave a demonstration both of coloratura and of his ability to rise to a very high register and to descend slowly to a lower one. He is a skilled actor and a good-looking fellow too. He received well-deserved open stage applause and ovations at the end. Most of the others, such as Vito Priante (as Dandini) and Carlo Lepore (as Don Magnifico), come from the Rossini Opera Festival experience.

Teresa Iervolino as Cenerentola, Carlo Lepore as Don Magnifico and Maxim Mironov as Don Ramiro in Rossini's 'La Cenerentola' for Opera Roma. Photo © 2019 Yasuko Kageyama
Teresa Iervolino as Cenerentola, Carlo Lepore as Don Magnifico and Maxim Mironov as Don Ramiro in Rossini's La Cenerentola for Opera Roma. Photo © 2019 Yasuko Kageyama

Rafaela Albuquerque as Clorinda and Sara Rocchi as Tisbe, Angelina's two pretentious step sisters, should receive a special mention.

Rafaela Albuquerque as Clorinda, Carlo Lepore as Don Magnifico and Sara Rocchi as Tisbe in Rossini's 'La Cenerentola' for Opera Roma. Photo © 2019 Yasuko Kageyama
Rafaela Albuquerque as Clorinda, Carlo Lepore as Don Magnifico and Sara Rocchi as Tisbe in Rossini's La Cenerentola for Opera Roma. Photo © 2019 Yasuko Kageyama

Like Domingo Pellicola, Murat Can Govem, Andrii Ganchuk, Timofei Baranov and Goram Jurič in Angelo del Fuoco, they are the product of Fabbrica, Teatro dell'Opera's finishing school. This Young Artists' Program is now competing with La Scala's Academy. They will go far; keep their names in mind.

Copyright © 15 June 2019 Giuseppe Pennisi,
Rome, Italy

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