Monday, May 8, 2017

Quest'è un nodo avviluppato*

Megan Marino and Jack Swanson
Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography
I wrote that Opera Delaware's 2013 production of L'Elisir d'Amore was cuter than a box of puppies, and I'll be darned if they haven't done it again with Mr. Rossini's comic opera La Cenerentola, part of the company's 2017 Opera Festival. A spirited and clever production by director A. Scott Perry, a cast of good singers and actors, and visual effects both comic and dazzling made this a highly enjoyable show.

From the first moments I was charmed by the antics of stepsisters Clorinda and Tisbe, quite capably sung by Jennifer Cherest and Alexandra Rodrick, and their blustering father Don Magnifico, given great comic flair by Steven Condy. (Mr. Condy graced Opera Delaware's stage last season as Falstaff.) I was even more delighted with the Angelina (Cenerentola, or Cinderella) of Megan Marino. She believably gave us Angelina's despair at her lot and and her love for Prince Ramiro disguised as a servant. With a pleasing sound throughout her voice and very clear coloratura singing, she was fully the equal of this demanding role. I especially loved her final aria and cabaletta, Naqui all'affano/Non piu mesta and her first act duet with the Prince. (I just learned Ms. Marino is the wife of dear Michael Mayes, who has graced these pages before—see this link and this additional link.)

Alexandra Rodrick, Sean Anderson, Jennifer Cherest
Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography
The Dandini of Sean Anderson was a joy to watch. His foppish appearance when he is disguised as the Prince is darling, with his mock-royal demeanor and his extreme wig. His singing was beautiful in sound, evenness and agility. His chemistry with Don Magnifico was comic and charming. (Mr. Anderson was Ford to Mr. Condy's Falstaff in last season's Falstaff at Opera Delaware.) I was pleased with tenor Jack Swanson's Prince Ramiro, as well.

I keep using the word charming in describing this production, and that is very much due to director A. Scott Perry. There were too many clever touches to list, but among them were the way in which the men's chorus pranced onstage for their first entrance, the way in which the storm in Act II was staged, the Don Magnifico's apparent delight at the misapprehension that the Prince (Dandini) wants to marry him instead of one of his daughters—the list goes on and on. I quite liked the effects Mr. Perry and Lighting Designer Driscoll Otto achieved in those "freeze" moments—when time stops and all those on stage try to grasp what is going on. The very first, in the Ramiro/Angelina Act I duet, brought well-earned chuckles from the audience.

Great credit goes to Brendan Cooke and the entire team at Opera Delaware for presenting a wonderful Opera Festival this year. I have long been a fan of Opera Delaware's work, and I am happy to say this production ranks among my favorites.

Megan Marino as Angelina and cast
Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography

*The title of this post means, literally, "This is a wrapped knot". It is the title of one of the exciting ensembles in the opera.

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