Cinderella Meets Prince Charming
The story of Cinderella has been passed down from generation to generation in many versions and languages. In the opera “La Cenerentola” by composer Gioachino Rossini and librettist JacapoFerretti, there is no fairy godmother, no magic, and no glass slipper. Cenerentola is treated like a housemaid by her blustery stepfather and her sniping stepsisters until the charming prince marries her and changes her life forever.
“La Cenerentola” will be simulcast from the Metropolitan Opera in high definition and surround sound to select theaters around the world this Saturday, May 10, 2014, at 12:55 p.m., as the last simulcast in The Met: Live in HD series for the 2013-2014 series. Opera lovers in West Virginia can see this two-act comic opera at the Cinemark Theater at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville; Regal Nitro Stadium 12; and Hollywood Stadium 12 in Granville/Morgantown, as well as at the Cinemark Theater in Ashland, Kentucky.
With an approximate runtime of three hours and forty minutes, the opera will be sung in Italian with English subtitles. An encore will be shown on Wednesday, May 14, at 6:30 p.m.
Superb American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato will take center stage as Angelina (Cenerentola). Baritone Alessandro Corbelli will sing the role of Don Magnifico, Cenerentola’s fool-of-a-father, and soprano Rachelle Durkin and mezzo-soprano Patricia Risley will sing the roles of Clorinda and Tisbe, Cenerentola’s stepsisters.
Dashing tenor Juan Diego Florez will sing the role of the Prince of Salerno; baritone Pietro Spagnoli will sing the role of Dandini, a valet to the prince; and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni will sing the role of Alidoro, former tutor to the prince.
Maestro Fabio Luisi will conduct this opera production by Cesare Lievi and directed by Eric Einhorn. This is a return of the Met production from 1997 which gives this 1817 classic opera a 1930s look.
For the role of Cenerentola, Rossini demands a mezzo-soprano or a contralto able to handle extended coloratura passages (rapid runs, arpeggios, and trills). Listen particularly for Ms. DiDonato’s final showpiece aria (“Non piu mesta”), the music of a joyous young bride singing virtuosic melismas throughout her vocal range from low notes to high notes – bel canto (“beautiful singing”) at its best.
Listen, too, for the Prince’s aria in Act 2 with its dazzling melismas and thrilling high notes.
You will hear the exuberance of Rossini’s music – strong rhythms, richly-colored orchestration, fast tempos, sudden crescendos. Listen for astonishing ensembles as well as florid arias. You will identify a “Rossinian” style in this magnificent music.
Dr. Stickler is professor of music at Marshall University.