To ensure that opera-loving audiences aren’t missing out during the current enforced shut-down, San Francisco Opera continues its Opera is ON initiative – the latest online presentation being the Company’s acclaimed production of Gioachino Rossini’s witty and lighthearted interpretation of one of the world’s best loved fairy tales – La Cenerentola.
Filmed live in HD at the War Memorial Opera House in 2014, La Cenerentola – described by Bachtrack as “delightful and enduring”, and by Theatrestorm as “a wonder in every respect” – features four Company debuts. French mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes stars as Angelina (Cinderella). Ms Deshayes was named a Laureate in the Lyrical Artist category at the 2020 Les Victoires de la Musique Classique – the annual French award ceremony that recognizes outstanding achievement in the classical music industry. American tenor René Barbera – a graduate of the Merola Opera Program – is the prince Don Ramiro, and Spanish baritone Carlos Chausson sings the role of Angelina’s stepfather, Don Magnifico. Mexican-American baritone Efraín Solís appears as the prince’s valet Dandini in a role debut, and bass-baritone Christian Van Horn is Alidoro. Soprano Maria Valdes and mezzo-soprano Zanda Švēde take the roles Angelica’s stepsisters, Clorinda and Tisbe, respectively. Both artists were, at the time, Adler Fellows of the Merola Opera Program.
Direction is by Gregory Fortner – in another Company debut – with production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, and Jesús López-Cobos – in his final engagement with the Company – leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus (Director Ian Robertson). The Spanish maestro passed away in 2018.
The libretto for La Cenerentola was written by Italian writer, poet and opera librettist, Jacopo (Giacomo) Ferretti, and based on Charles Perrault’s fairy tale, Cendrillon. The opera, which was first performed in Rome’s Teatro Valle on January 25th, 1817, differs from Perrault’s traditional story, due, apparently, to Rossini’s concern about the ‘special effects’ necessary to portray the ‘magical’ elements in the tale.
Performed in Italian with English surtitles, La Cenerentola will be available for free online viewing at sfopera.com as of Saturday, July 18 at 10.00 am (PDT), until 11.59 pm on Sunday, July 19.
Information sourced from San Francisco Opera program notes