Irish National Opera’s imaginative staging of the Cinderella story does justice to Rossini's vision, writes Cathy Desmond.
Irish National Opera’s production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola was a perfect fairy tale ending to the company’s second full season.
Orpha Phelan directed an outstanding cast in a beautiful and imaginative staging of the Cinderella story to produce three delightful hours of enthralling entertainment at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin.
Tara Erraught radiated the sense of virtue and sincerity required of the central role and made the demanding vocal fireworks seem effortless.
There were plenty of laughs generated by the comic antics of the cast, with Graeme Danby hilarious as an indignant Don Magnifico. Rachel Croash and Niamh O’Sullivan were well matched as the ditzy stepsisters.
American tenor, Andrew Owens as Don Ramiro and Riccardo Navarro as Dandini made a convincing comedic duo as well as a satisfying vocal contrast. Croatian bass David Ostrek was imposing as the Alidora. The ensemble work throughout was impeccable.
Excellent as the cast were, the wow factor was the staging that drew the audience into a fantasy world of books. During the overture, an assortment of familiar fairy tale characters come to life behind a gauze curtain displaying storybook covers.
In Act 1, the action is framed by a backdrop of ‘illustrated pages’ that lie open to reveal Don Magnifico’s kitchen and then turn to reveal a coach to take Angelina to the ball. Act 2 ups the ante with a set that is a bibliophile’s delight.
In the princes’ palace, Nicky Shaw’s set creates the illusion of giant floor to ceiling books in vintage book bindings, the titles of classic children’s literature legible from a seat in the stalls.
A troupe of actors including children in fairy tale character costumes cavort about to add to the gaiety.
Fergus Sheil kept the energy levels high in the pit with the luxury of a 46 strong orchestra. At the final cadence, the audience rose to their feet in a standing ovation.
The production continues for three more performances. There are half price tickets for children. A bargain!