Vancouver Opera's Storybook Perfect CenerentolaReview
Vancouver Opera’s annual festival is off to a flying start with its comic offering of Rossini’s classic La Cenerentola. The opera is filled with up and coming young stars, and doesn’t disappoint for a moment.
This production looks and feels like a children’s storybook, from the wood-block print backdrops, to the over-the-top costumes and makeup, to the chorus choreography, and a wonderfully choreographed scene at the banquet table.
McIntosh made it so sincere and beautiful that the audience couldn’t help but be swept away.
The step sisters, played by Nicole Joanne Brooks and Gena van Oosten start the show with their primping and preparing. The pair are a blast to watch and listen to. Their costumes and makeup are ridiculous and hilarious, and far from being upstaged by them, they use them to make their characters more outlandish and sassy. Vocally they blend seamlessly together, and are a blast to watch.
Rounding off the sisters is Peter McGillivray as Don Magnifico, the step-father trying to advance his daughters’ interests. McGillivray was funny from start to finish, with great moments of slapstick, and a rich baritone to match.
A brilliant, clear tenor with crystal clear high notes and superb coloratura absolutely wowed the audience.
Simone McIntosh as Angelina (Cenerentola) could not have been more perfectly cast. McIntosh is an upbeat, genuine actor who evokes all the sweetness and goodness of her character, with an agile voice that flows effortlessly through incredibly difficult passages of coloratura. Cenerentola’s forgiveness of her family’s ill-treatment in the finale is a difficult scene to pull off well, but McIntosh made it so sincere and beautiful that the audience couldn’t help but be swept away.
Charles Sy as the Prince Don Ramiro was a vocal force of nature. A brilliant, clear tenor with crystal clear high notes and superb coloratura absolutely wowed the audience. His chemistry with McIntosh was earnest and lovely, and he embodied the manner of royalty to a tee.
Cenerentola is a hilarious, action-packed romp.
Tyler Simpson as Alidoro and Daniel Thielmann as Dandini complete the cast. Simpson has a beautiful rich voice and was so heartfelt as the kind/wise mentor, and Thielmann was delightful in his mock-Prince outfit and ridiculous mannerisms.
While every performer in this production was excellent under maestro Leslie Dala, the standout is absolutely the ensembles. Rossini is incredibly unforgiving in his lighting-fast patter, overlapping harmonies, and blistering tempi in the ensembles, and every single one was perfectly precise, executed flawlessly, and were still all funny, evocative, and playful.
A special mention goes to lighting designer Alan Brodie for his tasteful use of spot lighting in the ensembles, the storm sequence, and in the freezes. It was dynamic and effective and a great underscoring to the fast paced action.
All in all, Cenerentola is a hilarious, action-packed romp that brings new life to a familiar fairy tale, and make us fall in love with it once again.