Don’t miss the last Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast of the season, Rossini’s opera “La Cenerentola” (“Cinderella”), which will be shown Saturday, May 10, at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge. Tim Pare, of the Lake Dillon Theatre Company, and Cecile Forsberg, of the National Repertory Orchestra, will present an opera preview before the broadcast, with a postlude discussion immediately following.
Rossini composed the opera based on the Cinderella fairy tale, using an Italian text by Jacopo Ferretti and a French libretto by Charles Etienne. Fairy tales are often described as far-fetched stories that commonly have a happy ending. Such is the case with Rossini’s opera, except for deviations from the original Cinderella tale, including the absence of a fairy godmother, no pumpkin that turns into a carriage and the use of a bracelet rather than a glass slipper in making her final identification.
The story line in places may be difficult to follow because of an intermix of male characters who appear in disguise for one another. Voice quality may serve those in the audience to make the true identifications. The opera opens in the rundown castle of landowner Don Magnifico (baritone Alessandro Corbelli), where the housemaid, Angilina, alias for Cenerentole (soprano Joyce Didonato), sits attending the fireplace, where she sings her famous aria about a king who married a common girl. With all the action that follows, this dream serves as the background story of the opera, where Angilina ends up marrying the Prince.
In the meantime, ongoing arguments between Magnifico’s daughters Clorinda (soprano Richelle Durkin) and Tisbe (mezzo soprano Patricia Risley) are interrupted by a knock at the door by Alidoro, dressed as a beggar (bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni), who is tutor to Prince Don Ramiro. Adverse to the disdain of the sisters, Cenerentola gives him bread and coffee. Courtiers next arrive to announce that Ramiro will soon pay a visit — he is looking for the most beautiful girl in the land and will hold a ball to choose his new bride. Magnifico, beyond any sentiment of love, hopes that the prince’s choice will be one of his daughters, which would save his family fortune. When the room is empty, Ramiro (tenor Juan Diego Florez) enters alone, dressed in his servant’s clothes, so he can secretly observe the prospective brides. Immediately, he is drawn to Angilina.
Although Magnifico disallows Angilina to attend the ball, Alidoro serves as her escort. She arrives at the ball as an unrecognized beauty dressed in a glittering gown. In the ensuing interchanges, she gives a bracelet to Ramiro, a token of recognition matching the one on her wrist, that he should look for when seeking her out. In time, the bracelets serve to bring Angilina and Ramiro together, a love affair that ends in marriage. In the end, Magnifico, his daughters and Ramiro’s tutors happily accept the eventual outcome.
In local New York reviews, particular accolades are given to mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, as an “endearingly poignant Cinderella.” Not far behind is the attention given to tenor Juan Diago Florez, in performing his role as her dashing prince. Both were described as “bel canto masters” in performance of Rossini’s flowing melodies. Met principal conductor Fabio Luisi has also been cited as drawing a “crisp and stylish performance from the orchestra.”
As mentioned, live prelude and postlude discussions will be presented, along with snacks and beverages to be provided during the intermission. This final opera promises to be a joyous conclusion to the 2013-14 Met Opera HD broadcast season.