La Cenerentola(or Cinderella) is one of Rossini's best operas, and while not quite on the same level as the Jean-Pierre Ponnelle film this production from Opera Australia is still a charming and highly pleasurable one. The video quality is not as crisp as one would like, but the costumes and sets are traditional and beautiful and there are no signs of dullness or distaste in the stage directing, just enchantment and fun. The orchestral playing is light and sparkling, from the overture right to the end, and the conducting just lets things flow. The Sextet is a high point musically Bernadette Cullen enchants as Angelina/La Cenerentola and Gary Bennett is a dashing Ramiro. John Pringle is appropriately benevolent as the "fairy godfather" figure Alidoro, the stepsisters are funny and characterful and Jeffrey Black is a handsome and hilarious Dandini. Stealing the show I felt was the late Donald Shanks' Don Magnifico, a large but flexible basso voice and an ability to be nasty and funny. All in all, charming and well worth your time. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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