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Donose, Sheeran, Cirillo; Mironov, Corbelli, Spagnoli, Chiummo; Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Glyndebourne Chorus, Jurowski. Texts and translations. Glyndebourne GFOCD 018-07 (2)
Peter Hall's lauded production of Rossini's Cenerentola for the 2005 Glyndebourne Festival has been available on video since 2008. Now a live audio recording from the 2007 festival, with the same conductor and some of the same cast, is available from Glyndebourne's own label.
The period instruments of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment lend a special grace and spice (except for the occasionally screeching piccolo), while the slightly lower pitch eliminates any vocal edginess. The cast's excellent ensemble skills and the superb musicianship of conductor Vladimir Jurowski bring liveliness and detail to every page of the uncut score.
The work's alternate title, La Bontà in Trionfo (Goodness Triumphant), is the ruling principle in this refined production, and while it's a shame not to see what's provoking so much laughter from the audience, the humor clearly derives from human foibles rather than cartoonish portrayals. While Don Magnifico is unattractively greedy and boorish, neither he nor the stepsisters deteriorate into grotesque caricatures. When Cinderella refers to Clorinda and Tisbe (Raquela Sheeran and Lucia Cirillo, respectively) as "sisters," they rear back in outrage, but they never sound witchy or ridiculous.
Romanian mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose brings sincerity and goodness to the title role, and her luscious, gently caressing sound is flexible throughout her range and especially potent in low-lying passages. Donose sings Cenerentola's doleful canzone "Una volta c'era un re" most beautifully and joyfully caps the performance with a sweet, supple voicing of "Non più mesta."
In the role of the Prince, tenor Maxim Mironov, with his quick vibrato and secure top, is a nice musical match for Donose in their love-at-first-sight duet, although pitch problems occasionally mar his otherwise attractive performance.
Alessandro Corbelli's linguistically nuanced and vocally pungent Don Magnifico is truly magnificent, and this seasoned and skillful Rossinian is not afraid to bring out the shallowness and vulgarity of this mean-spirited father. Smugly boasting that whichever of his two acknowledged daughters wins the prince's hand, he'll be set up nicely, Corbelli makes the most of "Sia qualunque delle figlie."
As the servant Dandini, Pietro Spagnoli elicits laughs in impersonating the prince in his well-sung aria "Come un'ape ne' giorni d'aprile" and joins Corbelli for patter and fun in the bass duet "Un segreto d'importanza." Umberto Chiummo brings nice vocal bite and great flexibility to the role of Alidoro, and his aria "Là del ciel" shows a resonant, even vocal production, with fine contributions from the orchestral wind instruments.
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