MOT’s 35th spring opera season continues with ‘Cinderella’

By |2018-01-16T02:56:37-05:00May 18th, 2006|Entertainment|

DETROIT – Michigan Opera Theatre’s 35th annual spring opera season continues with Gioacchino Rossini’s “Cinderella” (“La Cenerentola”), continues May 17, 19 and 20 at the magnificent Detroit Opera House. The production, which marks the company’s first main stage presentation of “Cinderella”, is sponsored by Cadillac.
Performed in Italian, with English surtitle translations, Rossini’s charming fairytale “Cinderella” is the perfect opera for the entire family, and for novices as well as seasoned fans.
Rossini’s “Cinderella” premiered in Rome on January 25, 1817. The opera’s libretto, by Jacopo Ferretti, is set in the 18th Century and based on Charles-Guillaume Etienne’s French libretto, “Cendrillon,” rather than the classic story by Perrault. While the opera lacks some of the conventions generally associated with Cinderella — substituting the prince’s tutor for a fairy godmother, and a bracelet for the infamous glass slipper — it remains a heartwarming tale of love transcending social classes.
The opera opens to Cinderella serving her stepsisters, Clorinda and Tisbe. They are the daughters of her rich, though very foolish, stepfather, Don Magnifico. Upon arrival of the Prince, his guide Alidoro, and his valet Dandini, all of whom are in disguise, the three girls and their stepfather learn that the Prince is seeking a wife, and that all the women of the kingdom are invited to a ball.
The Prince, disguised as his own valet, is immediately taken by Cinderella’s beauty. Her stepfamily, however, is unanimous in the decision that she cannot go to the ball. Before departing, the wise Alidoro promises to return and help the desperate diva.
At the ball, Clorinda and Tisbe chase Dandini, who has again dressed as the Prince. Don Magnifico, elated, is certain that the “prince” will choose one of his daughters for a bride. When Alidoro enters with Cinderella, beautifully dressed and masked to hide her true identity, the entire court takes note. The valet Dandini — still dressed as the Prince — is so taken with her that he proposes marriage, but Cinderella rejects him, saying that her heart belongs to his valet. Prince Ramiro — still dressed as a valet — realizes that he has found exactly what he was looking for — a woman to love him for more that his bloodline. He proposes, but Cinderella — still masked — gives him a bracelet matching her own, and tells the Prince that he must find out who she really is before she will marry him.
Prince Ramiro and his valet Dandini — finally dressed in their own attire — set out to find the masked beauty. Seeking shelter from a storm at Don Magnifico’s home, the Prince notices Cinderella’s bracelet, and reveals his true identity. Ramiro takes her by the hand and proclaims that she, and only she, will be his bride.
In true Rossini form,”Cinderella” is rich with light, effervescent music and florid coloratura singing, requiring tremendous vocal agility and flexibility. Highlights of the opera include Prince Ramiro’s stunning aria, “Si ritrovarla io guiro” and Cinderella’s brilliant rondo finale, “Nacqui all’affano e al pianto.”
To accommodate the vocal demands of Rossini’s fairytale, Michigan Opera Theatre has assembled a talented cast including American mezzo soprano Vivica Genaux (May 13, 17, 20) and Chinese-born mezzo soprano Peiye Wang (May 14, 19) as Cinderella. Two talented artists will make their Michigan Opera Theatre debuts in the role of the Prince, Don Ramiro: Kenneth Tarver (May 13, 17, 20) and Brian Stucki (May 14, 19). Kristine Biller Mattson will sing Clorinda, opposite local favorite Kathleen Segar as Tisbe. The role of Alidoro will be sung by South Korean bass Andrew Gangestad, in his company debut, and Don Magnifico will feature the return of Italian bass Donato Di Stefano, who last appeared with Michigan Opera Theatre in 2002’s “Don Pasquale.” British baritone George Mosley will make his company debut as Dandini. The Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra will perform under the seasoned baton of maestro Mark D. Flint, who most recently appeared with the company for “Faust” in 2004. Mark Streshinsky will direct his first production for the company.

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