Opéra de Lyon / Stefano Montanari / Stefan Herheim
Ingenious optical illusions, sumptuous video projections and unstoppable comedy.
Renowned Norwegian director Stefan Herheim’s extraordinary production of Rossini’s effervescent Cinderella opera is stuffed full of ideas and comic invention. Even conductor Stefano Montanari finds himself dragged from the pit and swept along in its breathless action.
Mistreated servant girl Cinderella is abandoned to scrub floors while her two conceited half-sisters preen and bicker over their outfits. When dashing Prince Ramiro announces he’s throwing a party, will she even make it to the ball? And can kindness really triumph over selfishness?
La Cenerentola dispenses with fairy godmothers and glass slippers, puts its Prince in disguise and transforms the wicked stepmother into a buffoon of a stepfather. But Rossini also metamorphoses Perrault’s fairytale into a heart-melting celebration of forgiveness and reconciliation, told through some of his zestiest, most sparkling music, from seriously showstopping arias to galvanising orchestral effects.
Conductor Montanari directs an exuberant Lyon Opéra de Lyon Orchestra. And among the exceptional cast of international singers are Canadian mezzo soprano Michèle Losier in the ebullient title role, and American tenor Taylor Stayton as an athletic Prince Ramiro.
With its visual virtuosity and emotional sweep, this is a Cenerentola that charms and captivates from start to finish – a brilliant spectacle, and one with a big heart.
Performed in Italian with English supertitles.
James and Morag Anderson