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'Cinderella' Not a Dream Come True

This review comes from guest contributor Sophia Vastek.

Cinderella, Opera Vivente (photo by Cory Weaver)
Friday night, Opera Vivente opened its twelfth season with Gioachino Rossini’s Cinderella. A simple set in the small (but somehow cavernous) room at Emmanuel Episcopal Church had a few delightful sparks of eccentricity, such as mirrors painted in the wrong direction and a chandelier hung at a right angle. These quirks enlivened what could have easily been another stock set built for flexibility. And as Cinderella, portrayed worthily by Ann Marie Wilcox, began to sing, her rich voice warmed the wooden room. Hearing Rossini sung in English was jarring, as when Prince Ramiro sang the quick and necessarily light “Quiet, quiet, quiet” when discussing what Dandini has learned about Clorinda and Tisbe. The words became almost obscene, highlighting the English language’s rampant diphthongs. But Prince Ramiro, sung by Gran Wilson, handled the words as best as possible and was certainly one of the more technically adept singers in the production.

Other Reviews:

Tim Smith, Opera Vivente opens season with Rossini's 'Cinderella' (Baltimore Sun, September 27)

Joe Banno, Conductor, Singing Enliven Lumbering "Cenerentola" (Washington Post, September 27)
The most disappointing musical faults were several instances of severe ensemble discrepancy between the orchestra and singers, although conductor Philip Lauriat did his best to keep the orchestra and singers together. This disconnect can probably be attributed to the physical orientation of the orchestra and conductor, who were situated to the side of the stage. Lauriat was not in the sight line of the singers, and when making strong, large gestures in their direction, his motions seemed to go unnoticed. On a whole, and looking past the glaring ensemble flaws, the production was largely enjoyable, especially listening to Cinderella and Prince Ramiro, whose voices mingled wonderfully. However, it seemed under-rehearsed and made for a disappointing start to the company’s season. Perhaps it was simply opening night jitters?

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