Thursday, 1 January 2009

220. Giochino Rossini - La Cenerentola (1817)


Title: La Cenerentola
Performers: Cecilia Bartoli, William Matteuzzi
Director: Riccardo Chailly
Year: 1992
Length: 2 hours 30 minutes


Of all the Rossini operas we've had here this was by far the most satisfying until now. It is strange to see how much more popular the Barber of Seville is when this opera has better and more original music and is actually funny.

In his time this was as popular as the Barber, but has slowly fallen from grace in comparison. I find this to be pretty unfair. There are some lovely moments here and many funny moments.

Some of the songs are up there with the best Rossini ever did, such as Cinderella's song
Una volta c'era un Re, or the amusing Don Magnifico arias. All in all a pretty fun opera both to listen to and to watch. If you are watching it you would do well to get Jean Pierre-Ponelle's film production, although this is a better recorded version... for some reason the visual of Bartolli as Cinderella escapes me.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

At the first performance, the opera was received with hostility, but it soon became popular throughout Italy and beyond; it reached Lisbon in 1819, London in 1820 and New York in 1826. Through most of the 19th century, its popularity rivalled that of the Barber, but as the coloratura contralto, for which the role was originally written, became rare it fell slowly out of the repertoire.

However, from the 1960s onward, as Rossini enjoyed a renaissance, a new generation of Rossini mezzo-sopranos and contraltos such as Agnes Baltsa, Cecilia Bartoli, Teresa Berganza, Bernadette Cullen, Joyce DiDonato, Vivica Genaux, Marilyn Horne, Della Jones, Patricia Kern, Kathleen Kuhlmann, Jennifer Larmore, Susanne Marsee, Ann Murray, Ewa Podleś, Lucia Valentini Terrani, and Frederica von Stade ensured the renewed popularity of the work.

There are changes from the traditional fairy tale in La Cenerentola because Rossini opted for having a non-magical resolution to the story (unlike the original source), due to obvious limitations in the "special effects" available.

Don Magnifico becomes the official wine taster:

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