Joyce DiDonato’s bel canto voice blooms in Rossini’s La Cenerentola – Met Live in HD

Pietro Spagnoli as Dandini, Joyce DiDonato as Angelina, Rachelle Durkin as Clorinda, and Patricia Risley as Tisbe in Rossini's "La Cenerentola." Photo: Ken Howard, Metropolitan Opera

Pietro Spagnoli as Dandini, Joyce DiDonato as Angelina, Rachelle Durkin as Clorinda, and Patricia Risley as Tisbe in Rossini’s “La Cenerentola.” Photo: Ken Howard, Metropolitan Opera

Joyce DiDonato sings her first Met performances of the title character in Rossini’s Cinderella story, La Cenerentola, with bel canto master Juan Diego Flórez as her dashing prince. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads a cast that also includes Pietro Spagnoli in his Met debut as the servant Dandini, Alessandro Corbelli as Cenerentola’s stepfather Don Magnifico, and Luca Pisaroni as Don Ramiro’s tutor, Alidoro.

To be transmitted to more than 2,000 theaters in 66 countries worldwide on May 10 at 12:55pm, the rest of the world will be able to hear the magnificent bel canto singing that is so ravishingly beautiful, and often full of original variations. Debra Voigt is the host for the telecast, which has a running time: approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission. In the Berkshires you can see the opera in High Definition at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, the Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield, and the Clark Art Museum in Williamstown.

The Metropolitan Opera has a dazzling, plucky and endearingly poignant Cinderella in the superb American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who triumphed Monday night. She sang with impish glee, dispatching virtuosic runs and turns, leaping from her chesty low register to gleaming high notes. Fabio Luisi drew a crisp and stylish performance from the orchestra.” – The New York Times

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The Singers

Joyce DiDonato has sung Angelina, the title role in La Cenerentola, at major opera houses all over the world, including La Scala, the Bavarian State Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet, and Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. Angelina is her eighth role at the Met, where her repertory has included the title role in the company premiere of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda; Sycorax in the world premiere of the Baroque pastiche The Enchanted Island; Isolier in the company premiere of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory and Rosina in his Il Barbiere di Siviglia; the Composer in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos; Stéphano in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette; and Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Next season at the Met, she will sing the title role in another Met premiere, Rossini’s La Donna del Lago.

While illness forced Juan Diego Flórez to withdraw from the opening performances of the revival, he is back and will play the Price.

Juan Diego Flórez is one of the world’s foremost Rossini tenors, currently counting 17 of the composer’s tenor roles in his repertory. He made his Met debut in 2002 as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the same year he sang his first company performances of Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola. In later seasons, he sang Lindoro in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri and Count Ory in the company premiere of Le Comte Ory. He sang Elvino in the new production of La Sonnambula and has also sung three Donizetti heroes at the Met: Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, and Tonio in the new production of La Fille du Régiment. Next season, he will star opposite DiDonato in the Met premiere of La Donna del Lago.

Fabio Luisi, who was named the Met’s Principal Conductor in 2011, has led 22 operas with the company, including six new production premieres: Strauss’s Die Ägyptische Helena, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Wagner’s Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, Massenet’s Manon, and Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera. Last season, he led three complete cycles of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. His diverse repertory of Met performances also includes Verdi’s Aida, Don Carlo, La Traviata, Rigoletto, and Simon Boccanegra; Puccini’s La Bohème, Turandot, and Tosca; Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and Elektra;Berg’s Lulu; Berlioz’s Les Troyens;Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel;and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Next season, he will conduct new productions of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci and Lehár’s The Merry Widow as well as his first Met performances of Verdi’s Macbeth.

Pietro Spagnoli’s other engagements this season include Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro in Lyon, Paris, and Barcelona; Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Così fan tutte at Vienna State Opera; and Sulpice in La Fille du Régiment at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Alessandro Corbelli made his Met debut as Dandini in the 1997 company premiere of La Cenerentola and first sang Don Magnifico at the Met in 2009. His other Met roles have included Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore, Sulpice in La Fille du Régiment, and the title role in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.  Luca Pisaroni made his Met debut in 2005 as Publio in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. His other roles with the company have included Caliban in the world premiere of The Enchanted Island (reprised earlier this season),the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Leporello in the new production premiere of Don Giovanni.

Synopsis

Act I

The fairy-tale past. In the run-down castle of Don Magnifico, his daughters Clorinda and Tisbe are in the middle of one of their usual arguments. Their stepsister Angelina, called Cenerentola, who serves as the family maid, sings her favorite song about a king who married a common girl (“Una volta c’era un rè”). There is a knock on the door and Alidoro, tutor to the prince Don Ramiro, enters, dressed as a beggar. The stepsisters want to send him away, but Cenerentola gives him bread and coffee. Courtiers arrive to announce that Ramiro will soon pay a visit: he is looking for the most beautiful girl in the land and will hold a ball to choose his bride. Magnifico hopes that it will be one of the stepsisters: marriage to a wealthy man is the only way to save the family fortune. When the room is empty, Ramiro enters alone, dressed in his servant’s clothes so he can freely observe the prospective brides. Alidoro has told him that there is a girl in the house worthy to be a princess, and Ramiro is determined to find out who she is. Cenerentola returns and is startled by the presence of a stranger. The two are immediately attracted to each other (Duet: “Un soave non so che”). He asks her who she is, and Cenerentola stammers a confused explanation, then runs away. Finally, the “prince” arrives—in fact Ramiro’s valet, Dandini, in disguise. To Ramiro’s amusement, Magnifico, Clorinda, and Tisbe fall over themselves flattering this prince, who invites them to the ball. Cenerentola asks to be taken along but Magnifico refuses (Quintet: “Signor, una parola”). Ramiro notes how badly Cenerentola is treated. Alidoro reenters with information that there is a third daughter in the house but Magnifico claims she has died. Left alone with Cenerentola, Alidoro tells her he will take her to the ball and explains that God will reward her good heart (“Là del ciel nell’arcano profondo”).

At Ramiro’s country house, Dandini shares with the prince his negative opinion of the two sisters. But both men are confused, since Alidoro has spoken well of one of Magnifico’s daughters. Clorinda and Tisbe appear again, having followed Dandini who still poses as the prince. When he offers Ramiro as a husband to the sister the prince does not marry, they are outraged at the idea of marrying a servant. Alidoro enters with a beautiful unknown lady who strangely resembles Cenerentola. Unable to make sense of the situation, they all sit down to supper, feeling as if they are in a dream.

Act II

Magnifico fears that the arrival of the stranger could ruin his daughters’ chances to marry the prince (“Sia qualunque delle figlie”). Cenerentola, tired of being pursued by Dandini, tells him that she is in love with his servant. Overhearing this, Ramiro is overjoyed and steps forward. Cenerentola, however, tells him that she will return home and doesn’t want him to follow her. If he really cares for her, she says, he will find her. The prince resolves to win the mysterious girl (“Sì, ritrovarla io giuro”).

Meanwhile Magnifico, who still thinks that Dandini is the prince, confronts him, insisting that he decide which of his daughters he will marry. Dandini first advises him to be patient, then reveals that he is in fact the prince’s servant (Duet: “Un segreto d’importanza”). Magnifico is furious.

Magnifico and the sisters return home in a bad mood and order Cenerentola, again in rags, to prepare supper. During a thunderstorm, Alidoro arranges for Ramiro’s carriage to break down in front of Magnifico’s castle so that the prince has to take refuge inside. Cenerentola and Ramiro recognize each other as the various parties comment on the situation (Sextet: “Siete voi?”). When Ramiro threatens Magnifico and his daughters who are unwilling to accept defeat, Cenerentola asks him to forgive them.

At the prince’s palace, Ramiro and Cenerentola celebrate their wedding. Magnifico tries to win the favor of the new princess, but she asks only to be acknowledged at last as his daughter. Born to misfortune, she has seen her life change and invites her family to join her, declaring that the days of sitting by the fire are over (“Non più mesta”).

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