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La Cenerentola - Welsh National Opera Review

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Famous Opera Version Of Cinderella Tale
With panto season approaching, Welsh National Opera (WNO) is offering an alternative musical Cinderella, which is currently on tour to Birmingham and Southampton.

Le celerentola, wno, opera, review, Birmingham hippodrome
An opera version of Cinderella


This historic opera based on the fairytale - La Cenerentola - is Rossini's enchanting version of the rags to riches story sung in Italian.

I caught the opera at Birmingham Hippodrome as part of WNO's regular visit to the theatre and its Autumn tour to the city until 18 November. La Cenerentola then moves on to The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton for a performance on 22 November.

It's a revival of the WNO's production from 2007, this time directed by Joan Font and conducted emphatically by Tomas Hanus.

This production is not only a light and breezy fun escapade, it's also vividly bright through its costumes, accessories and performances. There is some particularly delightful character acting by the wicked sisters, played with wonderful enthusiasm by Aoife Miskelly as Clorinda and Heather Lowe as Tisbe.

Le celerentola, wno, opera, review, Birmingham hippodrome
The wonderful wicked sisters who steal the show


This opera dating back to 1817 when Rossini first staged it in Rome's Teatro Valle, follows the Cinderella storyline but instead of an evil stepmother, there is vain stepfather Don Magnifico. While the glass slipper is replaced by a pair of matching bracelets.

We follow our heroine Angelina, who is treated miserably like a skivvy by her family, and her only friends seem to be the playful life-size mice that frequent the kitchen until the prince comes along disguised as his valet Dandini.

The mice are a key part of the success of this production as their naughtiness and quirky traits constantly catch the attention and add a depth of humour to the stage, aside from the music.

Le celerentola, wno, opera, review, Birmingham hippodrome
Cinderella with the wonderful mice


The romantic leads of Tara Erraught as Angelina and tenor Matteo Macchioni as the prince Don Ramiro have dreamy voices to sit back and enjoy.

In fact, Rossini's timeless opera includes various ensemble numbers and what some say was his finest work for solo performers. He was just 25 years old when he wrote La Cenerentola and it came when he was on a high after his success with The Barber of Seville a year earlier.

La Cenerentola review, wno, opera, Birmingham tour
Matteo Macchioni plays the prince


All the cast bring out the best in this enchanting work and that is complemented by over the top scenery that gives a feel of decadence, luxury and glamour of the 18th Century to the piece. There's also clever use of lighting and shadows to depict carriages travelling around and the like.

It's just over three hours long and there is a slightly over-long first act until the interval. It may have been better to break at an earlier point in the proceedings and make the two acts a similar length.

There's much in this zestful production to bring a smile and it's a bright happy-go-lucky antidote to the dark winter nights.

If you need a pick-me-up, you won't go far wrong with this latest delight from the WNO.

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Why? See a fun opera about Cinderella
When: On tour during November
Phone: 029 2063 5000 - WNO
Where: Birmjngham Hippodrome and Mayflower, Southampton
Cost: From £15
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