A Postscript to La Cenerentola

United StatesUnited States Rossini, La Cenerentola: Soloists, Seattle Opera, Giacomo Sagripanti (conductor), McCaw Hall, Seattle, 12 and 25.1.2013 (BJ)


Clorinda: Dana Pundt
Tisbe: Sarah Larsen
Angelina (Cenerentola): Daniela Pini (12.1), Karin Mushegain (25.1)
Alidoro: Arthur Woodley
Don Magnifico: Patrick Carfizzi (12.1), Valerian Ruminski (25.1)|
Don Ramiro: René Barbera (12.1), Edgardo Rocha (25.1)
Dandini: Brett Polegato


Joan Font (director)
Joan Guillén (set and costume design)
Albert Faura (lighting)
Kiko Planas (revival lighting design)
Joyce Degenfelder (hair and makeup)
Xevi Dorca (choreographer)
David McDade (chorus master)
Philip A. Kelsey, David McDade, Jay Rozendaal (musical preparation)
Jonathan Dean (English supertitles)


Now it can be told. With the run of the Seattle Opera’s La Cenerentola over (my review of the first cast is here), I shall not be spoiling any surprises for potential attenders by revealing the one directorial idea that seemed to me a mistake. At the very end of the opera, with the jubilation over Cenerentola’s (or Angelina’s) new good fortune at its height, the stage lighting dimmed, she took up her broom again, and we were left to conclude that the story of her emergence from servitude and ascent to the throne had all been a dream. I suppose one could say that this was a poetic, even a touching notion—but it flies in the face of the work’s subtitle, “Goodness Triumphant,” and of the whole atmosphere of the music, and it sent us home with a regrettable “downer” after so much uplifting magic.

Once again, I was bowled over by the lightness and wit of Brett Polegato’s patter, and shared the audience’s enjoyment of the way Jonathan Dean’s supertitles entered into the fun, responding to Don Magnifico’s demand that the courtiers write his proclamation in CAPITAL LETTERS by doing exactly that. For now, there are three changes, in the so-called “silver cast,” to be noted. Karin Mushegain was a highly accomplished Cenerentola. She looks good, she acts well, with an abundance of charm, and she has a lovely voice. If her delivery of the florid passages fell short of the pinpoint clarity Daniela Pini brought to them, this was, in all conscience, a thoroughly admirable portrayal. As Don Magnifico, Valerian Ruminski was perhaps not quite as funny as Patrick Carfizzi, but again he filled the role capably and with impressive vocal security.

But the real revelation was the Ramiro of Uruguayan tenor Edgardo Rocha. Hearing his performance made me realize in retrospect that, without in any way disowning my admiration of René Barbera’s assumption on opening night, what I really want him to sing is Verdi and perhaps Puccini. Rocha is that rarity, a true Mozart and Rossini tenor. His voice has a delectably light bloom and glint, yet also a welcome vein of steel at the top when a higher volume level is called for. Though he is only 30, he reminds me already of such outstanding exponents of this repertoire as Alfredo Kraus and Luigi Alva. And he is dramatically accomplished also. This is clearly a singer with a stellar career before him. I have to congratulate general director Speight Jenkins on finding two such splendid artists for the role of Ramiro.

Bernard Jacobson