Opéra de Montréal presents La Cenerentola – Opéra de Montréal presents its production of Gioachino Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” the operatic version of the old story of Cinderella. The story of the young woman, a victim of oppression and suffering which in the end is rewarded, has its roots in old narrations originally transmitted orally in ancient Europe. Charles Perrault wrote what became the most popular version of the story in his “Histoires ou contes du temps passé” in 1697. The Grimm brothers also included the story in their collection “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” of 1812. Rossini and the libretto’s author, Jacopo Ferretti, took it mostly from Perrault’s version although with some important modifications. While in the original story the villain is a stepmother, in the opera version that role is personified by a stepfather, Don Magnifico. Another important variation is in the object that ultimately would allow the prince to identify the mysterious young lady with whom he had danced at the ball: the shoe or crystal slipper in Perrault’s story in the opera is a bracelet. There is no fairy godmother either. Instead, the one who would help Cinderella is Alidoro, a philosopher or wise man who at first appeared as a beggar to test the kindness of the residents at Don Magnifico’s place: while the two sisters expel him, Cinderella is the only one who offers him some food.
The rest of the plot remains more or less the same: the two sisters, daughters of Don Magnifico. Clorinda and Tisbe vie for the heart of the prince Don Ramiro. For Don Magnifico, the opportunity of marrying one of his daughters to the prince and future king would, of course, satisfy all his ambitions. But the prince has set in motion an ingenious plan to disguise himself and be able to observe the real attitudes of Don Magnifico and the two women by exchanging places with his valet Dandini. This recourse to swapping roles between a lord and his servant has been used in other operas and literary stories as well, in “La Cenerentola” however, Dandini would have a more active participation and some own initiative in the plan. It is in those circumstances that Don Ramiro—disguised as his valet—has the opportunity to meet and fall in love with the humble servant Cinderella, a feeling that is also corresponded.
Alidoro would employ here some magic power to make it possible for Cinderella to attend the ball. The mice who have been on stage all the time would also play a decisive part in this critical moment of the story. Don Ramiro would eventually reveal his own identity, and his choice of bride, which of course would shock Don Magnifico and his daughters. Cinderella, however, faithful to her kind spirit would not seek any revenge on those who perpetrated so much evil treatment on her. We have a happy ending at last. Or wasn’t it all a dream?
The version presented by the Opéra de Montréal delivered a fresh version of the story with a dynamic display on stage, a minimalist but effective scenography (the scene when the prince was travelling in his carriage is quite ingenious), and solid performances by the singers. Angelina (the real name of Cinderella) is played by Canadian mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne. American tenor Juan José de León plays Don Ramiro, while Pietro Spagnoli, an Italian baritone plays Don Magnifico. The role of valet Dandini is sung by Italian baritone Vito Priante, Alidoro is performed by the American bass Kirk Eichelberger, in the parts of the two sisters are two Canadian sopranos, Lauren Margison as Clorinda and Rose Naggar-Tremblay as Tisbe.
“La Cenerentola” is presented at the Wilfrid Pelletier Theatre of the Place des Arts, at 7:30 p.m. until November 18. For ticket information visit: operademontreal.com
Feature image: The two sisters Clorinda (Lauren Margison) and Tisbe (Rose Naggar-Tremblay) and their father Don Magnifico (Pietro Spagnoli) try to get the favours of the prince
By: Sergio Martinez – mtltimes.ca