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Rossini La Cenerentola - two versions on DVD

Glyndebourne Festival Opera

 

Clorinda Raquela Sheeran

Tisbe Lucia Cirillo

Angelina Ruxandra Donose

Alidoro Nathan Berg

Don Magnifico Luciano Di Pasquale

Don Ramiro Maxim Mironov

Dandini Simone Alberghini

 

Conductor Vladimir Jurowski

Stage Director Sir Peter Hall

TV Director Robin Lough

Set Design Hildegard Bechtler

Costume Design Moritz Junge

Lighting Peter Mumford

 

Opus Arte OA 0944 D [June 2005 2 DVDs 187 mins]

 

I was looking forward to this DVD with some anticipation. But as I started watching it I found myself asking the question - is this really a 2005 production ? The sets and costumes certainly look drab and shabby enough to have been in and out of store a few times and the direction has a static, old fashioned air about it - even the lighting seems inadequate for this filmed version.

 

In interview, Peter Hall explains his desire to steer clear of Cinderella's fairy-tale connections. He certainly achieves this objective, but in doing so appears to have fallen into the trap of letting the plot become self-important and rather gloomy.

 

Whilst things are fairly dull on stage Vladimir Jurowski keeps the orchestra moving at a sprightly pace giving Rossini's music all the wit and sparkle that one could hope for.

 

Alidoro (Nathan Berg) sings splendidly, Dandini (Simone Alberghini) and Don Magnifico (Luciano Di Pasquale) are masters at comedy and excel in close up, and the two sisters (Raquela Sheeran and Lucia Cirillo) make what they can of it. Neither Angelina (Ruxandra Donose) nor Don Ramiro (Maxim Mironov) are outstanding, and their roles being stripped of glamour has not helped.

So many fine Angelina's have been recorded on DVD: Ann Murray with the Vienna Staatsoper, Cecilia Bartoli with Houston Grand Opera, and Von Stade in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's classic for La Scala all spring to mind and one must not forget Joyce DiDonato on CD for Naxos a true bargain.

 

Serena Fenwick

 

Rossini – La Cenerentola
Opus Arte OA 0944 D

P.S. A different view.

 

We came across this 2005 version of La Cenerentola belatedly via Sky Arts 2, which we recently had installed [October 2009]. Its programmes are not featured in most of the main press outlets and we regret not having discovered its scope earlier.

 

Peter Hall & Vladimir Jurowski offer '"Insights" and explain separately their joint, and mutually sympathetic, approach to what they believe to be Rossini's finest opera, and why they place the opera at its time of composition and follow the composer in rejecting any "fairy tale" connotations - Wikipedia suggests that Rossini opted for a non-magical resolution to the story due to obvious limitations in the "special effects" available...

 

Hall places La Cenerentola firmly in its historical context and describes his light-handed approach towards developing his singers' own interpretations, not forcing his ideas dictatorially.

 

Jurowski discusses why Rossini writes in the coloratura elaborations, depriving the singers of their penchant to glorify themselves. The '"Insights" extra is thought provoking and persuasive in explaining why there is no "magic"; the sisters are sexy and not at all "ugly", and Cenerentola is so much the heart and moral centre of this quite serious tale that the Prince does not even get to sing at the end !

 

We loved it and Ruxandra Donose fills her role ideally within this not-too-comic realisation. Recommended strongly for a contrasting addition to those listed above by Serena Fenwick, one or two of which you might already have.

 

[PGW, Editor]

P.P.S. We still await a DVD of the 2007 revival [pictured R] with period orchestra - see Fiona Maddocks, Evening Standard.
Regrettably, Glyndebourne has still not admitted Musical Pointers to the pantheon of invited press.

 

 

 

 

 

© Peter Grahame Woolf