La Cenerentola premieres the season at the Teatro Real
Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Playful drama en dos actos
Libretto by Jacopo Ferreti, based on the tale Cendrillon (1697) by Charles Perrault
D. musical: Riccardo Frizza
D. scene and set designers: Stefan Herheim y Daniel Urgen
Costume designer: Esther Bialas
illuminator: Andreas Meier-Dörzenbang
Video Designer: Torge Moller (bold film)
D. choir: Andrés Máspero
Distribution: Michele Angelini, Maybe Borja, Nicola Alaimo, Rocío Pérez, Carol Garcia, Aigul Akhmetshina, Riccardo Fassi, Orchestra and Choir Titulares del Tratro Real
A 29 February, his birthday, Rossini signs the contract to write a new opera that will be premiered in Rome to open the season. The excess of orders and the odd problem with the censors, lead Rossini and his librettist Jacopo Ferreti, to have to improvise a new script for the taste of censorship. Born like this, and in less than 24 days, Cinderella.
Rossini's virtuosity already rides between illustration and romanticism and La Cenerentola is a great example of this.. Use structured scenes just like in serious opera, but with a marked buffo character. In Ferreti's libretto the fairy disappears and is replaced by a less magical character, Gold wings, a kind of philosopher who advises the protagonist in some way. This is a first concession to the illustration, the substitution of magical elements for rational ones.
He also uses serious characters, like Cenerentola herself, Alidoro and Prince Don Ramiro. There is an intermediate role, what is Dandini, his role is comical but he is a serious baritone. The rest of the protagonists have a marked buffo character, as Don Magnifico and stepsisters Clorinda and Thisbe.
Despite the efforts of Rossini and Ferreti, La Cenerentola could not be released on time and it did 25 of January of 1817, the season has already started. Ferreti tells in his memoirs that the premiere of Cenerentola was turbulent, but it is not very well understood what he refers to, well they offered 22 performances and programmed, that same year, in seven other Italian theaters. Its success could be due, to a large degree, that the character of Cenerentola was played by the most famous mezzo-sopranos of the moment, Isabella Colbran and Pauline Viardot. Throughout the nineteenth century, bel canto composers were very famous and highly successful., later falling into oblivion and disappearing from the repertoire, with some exceptions, as The Barber of Seville.
In the second friendship of the twentieth century, La Cenerentola is recovered and begins to be represented, more and more often, in the main opera houses. This recovery of the title and its gradual incorporation into the repertoire, has two proper names, Conchita Supervía and Teresa Berganza, both gave life to the character of Angelina. By the way, all the functions of this production of the Teatro Real are dedicated to Teresa Berganza.
The score is a masterpiece. Its writing is very simple, what gives it agility and freshness. Throughout the work there is a clear preference for ensembles over arias and he constructs them almost by accumulation.. A character begins the aria and the others are gradually incorporated, starts one and ends six. The melodies are crafted as a set of arpeggio permutations with extreme virtuosity and precision. The result is, for example, the second act sextet, This is a wrapped knot. This requires, Of course, voices of great agility.
After twenty years of absence, La Cenerentola returns to the Royal Theater in a co-production by Norske in Oslo and the Opéra National in Lyon. In the pit, one of the directors who best knows this repertoire, Riccardo Frizza.
In the direction of the scene, Norwegian Stefan Herheim, that has based its scenography on the now traditional play of the theater within the theater. He has presented a classic Cinderella which he has updated by dressing her as a Theater cleaner, with your cart of supplies included. The scenery is colorful and cheerful, especially the magnificent wardrobe of Esther Bialas and the videos of Torge Moller, that projects images of the prince's castle, very evocative of Disney castles, which helps create that fairytale atmosphere. Although the scenery is clearer and more effective, regarding the development of the story, from the second act.
Riccardo Frizza dominates this repertoire to which he prints his mark to accentuate the Rossinian style. The orchestra sounded very good for how little Rossini has played in recent years. Times were a little slow, little sparkling, but the result was full of nuances. The first act turned out to be a bit off., both on the stage and on the vocal, and a certain disconnect between stage and pit. Frizza helped the orchestra not swallow some of the rather low-volume voices that struggled on stage. And it is that Rossini's music, as Frizza himself says, he is at the height of the greats and his scores are not easy to deal with. Musical direction, like the scenery and the voices, they grew as the work progressed, creating in the second act an absolute Rossinian atmosphere. On this occasion the musical director had an active participation in the performance, intervening on stage and conversing with the singers on several occasions. A nice detail that pleased the public.
This second cast was led by a very young debutante who was a great surprise, la rusa Aigul Akhmetshina. He has a mighty voice and, but nevertheless, with great capacity for agility, that dominated at all times. A good center register and powerful bass. His Angelina was undoubtedly the one who shone the most that night, also in the interpretive part.
Prince Don Ramiro was represented by the Italian-American Michele Angelini. Its timbre is nice, but had problems with its low volume, especially in the highest parts, where it seemed his voice was strangling. It also did not have its strongest point in agility..
Nicola Alaimo's Don Magnifico was the most Rossinian character of those who participated that night. He responded with ease to his two roles, because he was also the main Rossini on stage and the only, next to the Angelina of Akhmetshina, who responded to the demanding agility of his role.
The Dandini was in charge of the Baritone Borja Quiza, with a powerful voice and great stage capacity, but this character does not fit well with such a lyrical voice. It lacked expressiveness and lightness that it supplied, partly, for his good work on stage.
Very good were Cinderella's two evil stepsisters, the sopranos Rocío Pérez and Carol García, very good in the concertantes and in their roles, in which they unfolded with great comedy.
Special mention deserves the choir, only men this time, directed by Andrés Máspero. Not only did they shine on the vocal, they also had some very inspired stage appearances.
This is how one of the most special seasons of the Royal Theater is trained, who continues to receive all kinds of congratulations for his good management in a season as difficult as last. A Royal Theater that continues to be brave and proves it by programming this Cenerentola, A declaration of intentions.