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Opera Theatre Companies La Cenerentola

  • #1
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    After their exceptional production of Ariodante last year, it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to visiting Corks Everyman Theatre for Opera Theatre Companies production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola. In recent years, the OTC has repeatedly fashioned the highest quality productions of any of Irelands Opera companies – an achievement that creates the difficulty of a high burden of expectation of them.

    This production is sung in English and the fairytale is transposed to a 1950s backdrop. The change of era is brilliantly realised and facilitates much of the bright humour in the opera. Cinderellas mother married Don Magnifico, who already had two daughters (the ugly sisters), but Cinderellas mother has died; now Don Magnifico and the sisters acknowledge Cinderella only as a home help.

    Anne Marie Gibbons is wonderfully suited to the role of Cinderella, effortlessly describing the demanding vocal ornamentation required by Rossini. Eric Roberts as Don Magnifico, the fall guy for much of the humour in the opera, is great fun and at one point manages to sing animatedly whilst undressing on stage – not an easy task! Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks, Owen Gilhooly and Matthew Hargreaves excel as the royal party, whilst Elizabeth Woods and Bridget Knowles outwit themselves excellently as the two self-involved ugly sisters.

    It must be an interesting quandry to be asked to play an ugly sister – to be flattered or offended? Fortunately, in this production, ‘ugly’ depicts that they are unpleasant people as opposed to physically unattractive, so this conundrum doesn’t arise.

    This humour-packed production is dazzlingly well done - the staging is bright and imaginative; there is a great cohesion about the cast who seem to really enjoy working together; there are no lose ends in telling the fairytale in a relatively modern paradigm. It will appeal to seasoned operagoers, but this would also be eminently suitable for children or for first-time operagoers.

    Great congratulations are due to Annilese Miskimmon, the new Artistic Driector for OTC. She has succeeded in raising the bar for the OTC yet again. With tour dates all over Ireland until November 30, this is a production that should not be missed.

    Full details available on the Opera Theatre Company Website