Gioacchino Rossini : La Cenerentola
Lawrence Brownlee (Don Ramiro), Simone Alberghini (Dandini), Alessandro Corbelli (Don Magnifico), Rachelle Durkin (Clorinda), Patricia Risley (Tisbe), Elina Garanca (Angelina), John Relyea (Alidoro), The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Donald Palumbo (Chorus Master), Robert Myers (Recitative Accompanist), Maurizio Benini (Conductor), Cesare Lievi (production), Maurizio Balo (sets and costumes), Gigi Saccomandi (lights), Daniela Schiavone (choreography), Gary Halverson (Video Director), Thomas Hampson (Host)
Recorded live at the Metropolitan Opera (May 2009) – 170mn
Deutsche Grammophon Ref. #: B00113831-09 – Subtitles in French, German, Spanish and Japanese – Booklet in English
When La Cenerentola finally premiered at the Met in 1997, directed by Cesare Lievi with Cecilia Bartoli in the title role, Alessandro Corbelli as Dandini, and Simone Alaimo as Don Magnifico, the production received rave reviews. This 2009 revival, now captured on DVD, has not aged a bit. Lievi's direction does justice to the mixture of opera seria and opera buffa inherent to this work, and to the cohabitation of characters and styles that belong to different planets. The set, a larger than life interior, suits the purpose of Rossini's untraditional fairy tale. Corbelli delivers, as always, a master class in the art of opera buffa: his performance is totally rounded and faultless. His Don Magnifico is not just a preposterous fool, but someone trying to ignore a disturbed conscience. Simone Alberghini is not always at ease in ornamented passages (he does not exactly fall in the category of coloratura virtuoso) but the top range is most delightful and the singer cuts a fine figure as Dandini. John Relyea is a reliable (no pun intended) Alidoro. Tenor Lawrence Brownlee demonstrates elegant singing with easy top notes and forceful projection, especially in "Pegno adorato e caro". With Rachelle Durkin (Clorinda), Patricia Risley (Tisbe) one could not dream of a more irresistible pair. Mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca has performed the title role to tremendous acclaim all over the world. She very intelligently travels through the evolution of her character, from the ingenuous simplicity of "Una volta c'era un rè", to the assertive "Signore una parola", to the true nobility of "Sprezzo quei don" and, finally, to the generous plea of "Ah Signor, s'è ver che in petto". Vocally, Garanca does not seem to mind a bit the dazzling virtuosity of the score. She combines sweetness and pathos with pure bel canto vocalism.
Maurizio Benini signs a commendable performance at the helm of ever so impressive Met orchestra and chorus.
Baritone Thomas Hampson works backstage as a host, briefly walking the viewer through set changes that cast a glimpse on the colossal team effort that an opera production requires.
This DVD is filmed in high definition, with crisp clear sound and image, under the fluid command of video director Gary Halverson.