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Roberto Devereux, Donizetti
D: Alessandro Talevi
C: Roberto Abbado
Elizabeth I of England, queen with a broken heart: "Roberto Devereux" by Donizetti

One of the titles of the great bel canto repertoire returns to Palermo after many years of absence with an international cast of great prestige: for the new season of the operas of the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Gaetano Donizetti's "Roberto Devereux" is staged , the great opera that sees protagonist Queen Elizabeth I of England. The opera, which was performed in Palermo only in 1994 at the Politeama Garibaldi under the direction of Gianandrea Gavazzeni, is staged from 29 April to 7 May in the staging of the Welsh National Opera under the direction of Alessandro Talevi and the sets and costumes. by Madeleine Boyd. On the podium Roberto Abbado, who returns to direct the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Massimo in Palermo after the Mahlerian concert last March. The absolute protagonist in the role of the English queen - a role in which singers such as Montserrat Caballé, Leyla Gencer, Beverly Sills, Edita Gruberová, Raina Kabaivanska and Mariella Devia have ventured - is the soprano Maria Agresta , who will sing the part for the first time in Paris just before the performances in Palermo, always under the direction of Roberto Abbado. Her rival Sara is played by mezzo-soprano Vasilisa Berzhanskaia, a rising star of the international scene, while in the performances of April 30 and May 6 the role of Elisabetta passes the baton to Davinia Rodriguez and that of Sara to Chiara Amarù from Palermo. "Roberto Devereux" is a lyric tragedy in three acts composed on a libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the tragedy by Jacques-François Ancelot "Elisabeth d'Angleterre" and together with "Anna Bolena" and "Maria Stuarda" is part of the so-called "Ciclo of the Tudor Queens "by Donizetti. The staged story is inspired by the relationships (real, but also fictional) between the Earl of Essex, Robert Devereux, and Queen Elizabeth I of England. Or better,his love for the Count is no longer reciprocated . Devereux, in fact, has fallen madly in love with the beautiful Sara, wife of his best friend the Duke of Nottingham, who reciprocates by unleashing the ire of Elizabeth who, having learned of an alleged betrayal of the crown by the Earl of Essex, in a vortex of conflicting emotions and feelings finally decides to sentence him to death.

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29 avril 2020www.balarm.itBalarm
La Cenerentola, Rossini
D: Laurent Pelly
C: Roberto Abbado
Cenerentola Brightens the Season at LA Opera

’Tis the season when opera companies turn to family friendly programming, light of mood, rich in melodies and, if possible, a story line that captures the festive atmosphere of the holidays — children welcome. In that tradition, Los Angeles Opera unveiled a delightfully buoyant production of Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola Saturday at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, which attracted a bevy of young audience members including a number of gaily adorned, tiara-topped Cinderellas. After the storm and stress of Verdi’s Il trovatore and the erotically conflicted sound bath that is Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Cenerentola arrived like a confection of delights.ts exceedingly well-balanced cast features a host of LA Opera veterans (Rodion Pogossov, Alessandro Corbelli, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Erica Petrocelli, and Gabriela Flores) as well as a pair of noteworthy debuts by a mellifluous mezzo-coloratura from Naples, Serena Malfi, and a charming bright-voiced tenor from Kroonstad, South Africa, Levy Sekgapane. They are both rising stars. Due to the vicissitudes of the pandemic, the production that LA Opera had originally contracted for became unavailable, so the company went shopping. The result is a playful, eye-pleasing staging from the Dutch National Opera with scenery by Chantal Thomas and costumes by Laurent Pelly and Jean-Jacques Delmotte. It takes a kind of Kurt Vonnegut "unstuck in time" approach to the familiar plot, contrasting a cotton-candy pink fairytale kingdom of bewigged courtiers, with a dreary domestic landscape of washers, driers, bathtubs, shabby couches, and a black-and-white television that looks like it comes from the faded pages of a 1950s issue of Good Housekeeping.Cenerentola, like all Rossini’s opera buffas, requires an orchestral performance (like a Ferrari) that can shift gears smoothly; a cast of singers whose distinct vocal ranges and coloratura technique can shine in solos, duets, and the most intricately interwoven ensembles. And it needs a director who can blend farce and frenzy with sensitivity and tenderness. LA Opera’s production (onstage through Dec. 12) combines the skillful ebb, flow, and flourish of Roberto Abbado’s conducting with Laurent Pelly’s clever and rhythmically inspired direction that choreographs the ensemble’s gestures to fit the pulse and patter of the phrase.Serena Malfi, as Angelina (Cinderella) has the ringing high notes, resonant low notes, and abundant charm of Cecilia Bartoli, a onetime favorite in this role. No singer I have ever seen in this part does a better makeover from dusty and dowdy to elegance and glitter, even if her ball gown shows signs of her sooty point of origin. From the moment Malfi first appears in her apron and yellow rubber gloves, with mop in hand, she captures your heart. She is so downtrodden her glasses constantly slip off her nose. She spends much of the first act feverishly dusting every nook and cranny or loading endless piles of laundry for her primping and whining half-sisters, Clorinda (Petrocelli) and Tisbe (Flores). Her grumpy stepfather, Don Magnifico (Corbelli) doesn’t treat her much better. Thankfully, she will soon be saved by her Fairy Godfather, Alidoro (D’Arcangelo).Malfi’s voice glitters like diamonds, but she is perfectly matched by her Prince Charming, Don Ramiro (Sekgapane, and their two voices (as well as their fairy tale personas) blend beautifully. Sekgapane’s clear tenor unites unerring bel canto flair with consistently ringing high notes. Following in the tradition of commedia dell’arte, Rossini delights in his opera buffa comic characters — in this case Corbelli’s down-at-the-heels nobleman, Don Magnifico, and Pogossov’s Dandini, the valet who would be prince. Both play the over-inflated bluster and quicksilver patter songs to the hilt. Watching Pogossov, in all his puffed-up pink finery, I couldn’t help thinking of “You’ll be Back,” King George’s famous number in Hamilton.And when the curtain fell and the ovations faded, it was lovely to see all those little Cinderellas heading home with smiles on their faces after their night at the ball.

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22 novembre 2021www.sfcv.orgJim Farber
Review: LA Opera stages an incongruous albeit successful ‘La Cenerentola’

“La Cenerentola” is the second-most often performed Rossini opera, with “The Barber Of Seville” being a runaway No. 1. At the Los Angeles Opera, it’s made regular reappearances in 13-year intervals: first, during the company’s second season back in 1987, with Frederica Von Stade as the heroine and Neville Marriner in the pit. It returned with a comic, modern-dress garb rendition in 2000, as Jennifer Larmore made Cinderella’s treacherous coloratura flights sound easy. 2013’s production featured two contrasting Cinderellas taking turns in the role and included James Conlon setting a sparkling pace and a memorable collection of lovable, helpful rats. On Saturday night, another version of the LA Opera’s “Cinderella” — originally scheduled for fall 2020 but moved back a year due to the pandemic — opened at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, coming a mere eight and a half years since the last one. This co-production of Dutch National Opera, Grand Théâtre de Genève and Valencia’s Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia tries to fuse two wildly different worlds together. It feels incongruous, but Rossini and Cinderella ultimately do come out on top. “Cinderella” is a fairytale that has no set period and can be staged effectively in any era of history so long as class differences and dysfunctional families are present. For this version, director and costume designer Laurent Pelly places the home of down-and-out Don Magnifico (Cinderella’s bumbling, self-important stepfather) sometime in the 1950s or `60s, crammed with aging furniture, a Hotpoint refrigerator and other period appliances. These are shuffled about on several moving blocks; at times, the stage resembles an overstuffed storage unit. Cinderella’s stepsisters Clorinda and Tisbe are spoiled Valley Girls — all that’s missing is one of them crying, “Gag me with a spoon!” — and a bespectacled Cinderella toils away cleaning the family’s home.Meanwhile, the courtiers of the prince Don Ramiro are outfitted in 19th century wigs and costumes from Rossini’s time — except for the bespectacled incognito royal himself, which makes the initial mutual attraction between him and Cinderella more credible. These worlds clash openly when the court’s pink-and-white color scheme is superimposed onto the Magnifico home’s drab interior. That made counterintuitive sense in the Act I finale, a typical Rossini melee reflecting the characters’ confusion. Then there is Alidoro, the prince’s tutor, who discovers Cinderella while disguised as a person experiencing homelessness. Even though Rossini doesn’t use a fairy godmother in his tale, Alidoro becomes one here when he transforms himself into a tuxedoed conductor who whisks a disbelieving Cinderella off to the ball, his baton acting as a magic wand that leads the action. When Serena Malfi’s Cinderella sheds her glasses and appears at the ball, she bears an uncanny physical resemblance to a great Cinderella of our time, Cecilia Bartoli — a good omen. And the Neapolitan mezzo-soprano made good on the omen, conserving out her vocal resources so that all alone onstage, she was prepared for these impossible runs and scales of her final aria of wonderment and joy. She did so with flair and command. Another vocal star who stood out was a familiar lead voice in LA Opera annals, bass-baritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, now serving as a debonair Alidoro in his conductor phase. As Don Ramiro, South African tenor Levy Sekgapane possessed the reedy lyric voice that one hears a lot in Rossini; the highest notes didn’t exactly ring, but they were there.Alessandro Corbelli returned from the 2013 production for another go at Don Magnifico, his voice strengthening and becoming more agile in Act II’s opening patter aria. Rodion Pogossov was a preening dandy of a Dandini, and like Corbelli, had his best vocal moments in Act II. Veteran conductor Roberto Abbado, a member of the Abbado musical dynasty, was in the orchestra pit for the first time on Saturday. Minus the tired practice of staged silliness during an overture, Abbado led this overture undistracted in front of a closed curtain, and his conducting grew stronger and sharper in rhythm during the second act. Alas, the many streams of rapid Rossinian patter were not even close to coherence in Act I, hurting the momentum of those wonderful, rushing crescendos that are so tough to sing. Fortunately, LA Opera has a track record of pulling “Cinderellas” together after opening night. I attended the first and fourth performances of the opera in 2013 and was struck by how things tightened and acquired greater definition the fourth time around. In other words, this performance is likely to get even better by the day.

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22 novembre 2021www.latimes.comRICHARD S. GINELL