THERE’S not much magic in Rossini’s operatic retelling of the Cinderella story – no fairy godmother, no pumpkin carriage.
Scottish Opera: La Cenerentola - Theatre Royal, Glasgow
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But it was there nonetheless in director Sandrine Anglade’s gentle, lyrical staging, a co-production between Scottish Opera and Strasbourg’s Opéra National du Rhin – in Claude Chestier’s simple yet effective (and pleasingly symmetrical) stage images, all glowing ruffs, spinning umbrellas and magically rotating cabinets, lit imaginatively by Eric Blosse; and in Anglade’s vivid telling of the well-worn story and its cosy homilies about virtue triumphing over greed.Her Cinders is a feisty figure, and Russian mezzo Victoria Yarovaya’s sultry vocal fireworks seemed entirely appropriate for a woman who challenges her Prince Charming to come and find her if he really wants her.
Tenor Nico Darmanin sounded disappointingly constricted as her love interest, though, and struggled to project above the orchestra at times – but the stage burst into life whenever his cohort Dandini (who’s disguised as the Prince for most of the opera – you know the story) made an entrance, such was baritone Richard Burkhard’s gleefully extravagant characterisation.
Rebecca Bottone and Máire Flavin gave it their all as dance-and image-obsessed ugly sisters Clorinda and Tisbe but stopped well short of pantomime excess – as did Anglade’s production overall, cheeky, witty and perceptive, but always done with taste and a sense of compassion.
Scottish Opera’s orchestra, under William Lacey, bubbled along nicely in the pit (Claire Haslin’s fortepiano recitative accompaniment was beautifully supple), but could have done with a bit more sparkle and abandon to bring the whole thing more brightly to life.
Seen on 15.10.14
• Theatre Royal tomorrow and 25 October, then on run to Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh