The Metropolitan Opera HD Live: Season 8, Episode 10

Rossini: La Cenerentola (10 May 2014)

TV Episode  -  Music
8.7
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 7 users  
Reviews: 1 user

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(libretto), (based on the story: "Cendrillon")
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Title: Rossini: La Cenerentola (10 May 2014)

Rossini: La Cenerentola (10 May 2014) on IMDb 8.7/10

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Joyce DiDonato ...
Angelina, known as Cenerentora
Rachelle Durkin ...
Clorinda
Patricia Risley ...
Tisbe
Alessandro Corbelli ...
Don Magnifico
Juan Diego Flórez ...
Don Ramiro
Pietro Spagnoli ...
Luca Pisaroni ...
Alidoro
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dennis Giauque ...
Himself - Recitaive Accompanist
Fabio Luisi ...
Himself - Conductor
Metropolitan Opera Chorus ...
Chorus
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra ...
Themselves - Orchestra
Deborah Voigt ...
Herself - Host
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Music

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Release Date:

10 May 2014 (USA)  »

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Soundtracks

Excert of: Atechevo eta prezhde ne znala
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (as Tchaikovsky)
From "Iolanta"
Performed by Anna Netrebko, The Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre (as Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre)
Conducted by Valery Gergiev
From the album "Russian Album"
Recording courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon
[2014-15 HD Season Preview Trailer]
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User Reviews

 
A good, if slightly lacking, end to a strong season
17 May 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The eighth season has been a generally strong one, as said in my Cosi Fan Tutte review Tosca fared the least personally and that was still decent and vastly improved over the 2009 production, and is one of the more consistent seasons in the Metropolitan Opera HD Live series. This production of La Cenerentola, one of Rossini's best operas(beautiful music, fun if slightly confusing story, colourful characters and sparkling comedy) may be one of the weaker productions of the season but is still a good ending to the series. And I preferred it to the 2009 Elina Garanca production, which was still fun, mainly because of the leads here, the visual style having grown on me and some of the touches that didn't quite come off in the Garanca production just about did here.

Of course there are a few things that didn't quite work, the setting for the final scene is still rather sparse and Luca Pisaroni is a little uninspiring as Alidoro. He has a lovely voice(much more preferable to John Relyea, who seemed to be having an off night) that rings out and is flexible and his kindly presence comes off beautifully but his performance does lack energy compared to everyone else and he, unlike Di Donato and Corbelli in particular, didn't seem to disappear behind the role and live it(then again it's hard to do because Alidoro is the opera's least interesting character for me). What did come off least was some of the staging, the wedding cake touch is still incoherent, the repeated gag with the sofa did get old quite quickly and some of the stage business between the stepsisters was overplayed, too much and not needed though not without its moments(the less said about Alidoro's tacky wings and the hideously overdone make-up for the men the better as well).

The staging mostly works though, the first scene between Angelina and Ramiro is enough to make the heart melt, the Act 2 revelation scene between Magnifico and Dandini is hilariously done, the penultimate scene has genuine fire thanks to some great acting and an absolutely brilliant job here is done with Magnifico. He has rarely been nastier than here with his abuse of Angelina both intense and fun to watch without falling to extremes. The dinner scene/food fight scene that closed Act 1 was actually funny, just look at the reactions of Dandini, Magnifico and the step-sisters(it's a miracle that Di Donato and Florez were able to keep a straight face) and wasn't that distracting this time, before it was too busy and on the dumb side. Visually, the production has really grown on me, some parts are still a bit sparse(at least it didn't look busy or cluttered) but the settings are nice and simple and look elegant and the costumes work well within the setting, Angelina's ball dress and Dandini's dapper regal costume coming off best.

Where the production really scores is in the musical values and the performances. Some of Rossini's best music is in La Cenerentola, and this production doesn't make you think otherwise. The orchestral playing is light and stylish yet there is some real nuance and depth, Angelina's melancholic story, the little storm interlude and the increasingly urgent crescendo in the Act 1 finale stood out as particularly good. The men's chorus don't have a lot to do dramatically but sing with a burnished and sturdy sound with good balance. Fabio Luisi does a great job conducting, he gives the performers freedom yet keeps the rhythms and energy precise all the time. The shaping, phrasing, attention to details and musicianship are too-drawer too, if there was anything that could have been done better it was that the Overture could have had more pace and oomph.

Joyce Di Donato has a lot of experience in the title role and it is no wonder, she is just wonderful in the role. She is charming, funny and touching, you relate to Angelina from minute one to the end and admire her kindness and her willingness to forgive at the end. She doesn't disappoint vocally either, then again she never has, her technique and flexibility, and how she makes them sound easy when they're anything but, are enough to make one envious and her tone is as ever beautiful and rich with a dynamic range that shimmers and is used intelligently. The chemistry with Juan Diego Florez is magic in itself. Florez is similarly splendid, especially in his brilliantly sung Act 2 aria(oh my god those top Cs, what power and ring!) that was a contender for the highlight of the entire production, his acting is really involved and often subtly and like Di Donato he sounds fabulous.

Alessandro Corbelli sings with a mostly mellow tone albeit with some dryness complete with crisp diction and such character. He is also the best actor on stage, his Magnifico is genuinely nasty yet he is hilarious(those facial expressions) without being a buffoon. There are productions that do better at allowing us to feel sorry for him at the end, but that doesn't matter all that much here. Pietro Spagnoli sings beautifully as Dandini, with pattering that blisters, nuanced shaping of words and phrases and a florid technique that doesn't ever feel smudged. And he is sly, dapper and subtly funny as an actor, one of the best performances I've seen from him. Rachelle Durkin and Patricia Risley have great comic timing as the stepsisters and act with gusto though their stage direction can be cartoonish. Impressive was the contrasts between their voices, like Durkin's bright chirpy soprano to Risley's richer and more mellow mezzo.

Overall, a decent production and a good end to the season, but there are better Cenerentola productions around. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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