Director: Joan Font
Revival Director: Xevi Dorca
Conductor: Thomas Hanus
Reviewer: Emily Pearce
WNO ends its Autumn season with La Cenerentola, the retelling of the fairytale Cinderella through Rossini’s challenging and sparkling score.
Thomas Hanus’ orchestra is on excellent, and lively form – Rossini’s virtuosic music is played with precision and verve. Even better, the cast are uniformly strong throughout; some sublime voices paired with the rarity of them all seeming to be having a ball!
As the title role of Angelina (AKA Cinderella), Tara Erraught is enchanting; a Disney-like princess, exuding ‘goodness’, but with a smooth, agile and rich voice to boot. Difficult passages are tackled with ease, and she is a natural in the role, which could sometimes come across as saccharine by a lesser actress. As the not-so-ugly sisters, Aoife Miskelly and Heather Lowe provide excellent support, pulling faces, and being generally horrible through a veneer of respectability, all while singing very beautifully. As the prince, Don Ramiro, Matteo Macchioni is fantastic, authoritative and playful in equal measure, which a soaring voice perfect for Rossini.
Joan Guillen’s design is a rarity, Baroque in style, but with harlequin influence and splashes of colour everywhere, making for a camp almost drag-like feel, which adds. Swift and clever set changes also mean that no part of the set is left unturned in scene changes – the transformation like the fairytale, has a touch of magic to it.
Nodding to the more traditional telling of the story, this production features dancing mice throughout, often moving props or dancing as an accompaniment to the arias. The choreography by Xevi Dorca sparkles, and is one of the more joyful aspects of the opera, in a production filled with plenty of fizz and spectacle. Along with the occasional jive routine by the singers, the audience is often drawn to the choreography over the singers, which, while entertaining, does occasionally distract from the plot, or from the nuance of characterisation.
WNO’s La Cenerentola is frothy and delightful, with some superb singing – if only visual gags didn’t always prevail over sincere expression. An entertaining romp, this production is vibrant and light-hearted, if a little too long.
Reviewed on: 5th October 2018 | Image: Jane Hobson