Pittsburgh Opera puts a few twists on classic 'Cinderella' story
Romantic comedies aren't always funny. The essential ingredient is a happy denouement, in contrast with tragedies.
It's the impediments along the way that mostly naturally provide the fun, spectacularly so in the case of the stepsisters in “Cinderella.” Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre just completed a run of Sergei Prokofiev's “Cinderella.”
Next up is the most famous operatic treatment of the story, written by Gioacchino Rossini in the early 18th century and filled with effervescent music.
Pittsburgh Opera will present Rossini's “La cenerentola” (Cinderella) at performances starting April 27 at the Benedum Center, Downtown. The cast stars Vivica Genaux as Angelina (Cinderella), Paolo Pecchioli as Don Magnifico (her father) and Arthur Espiritu as the prince, Don Ramiro. Antony Walker will conduct the Pittsburgh Opera orchestra and chorus.
The libretto Rossini used omits the wicked stepmother and fairy godmother and diverts further from the standard version of the story by using a bracelet rather than slippers as the way the prince identifies Cinderella after the ball at which they meet.
Pittsburgh Opera's production is by Kristine McIntyre, who staged “The Marriage of Figaro” for the company in 2010.
“Our costumes and scenery are set in the 1880s,” she says. “Moving it forward to the turn of the century is one of the ways it creates a bit of a ‘My Fair Lady' story. I tend to think of (the opera) as something almost edging toward movie musicals territory.”
Genaux sang the title role in “Cinderella” with the opera here in 2002. She also starred in Rossini's “The Italian Girl in Algiers” in 2009.
Pittsburgh feels like a second home for Genaux because her beloved teacher, Claudia Pinza, lives in Bellevue. In fact, Genaux lived for many years in Bellevue and was in town in January for lessons with Pinza. She now lives near Venice with her Italian husband.
“Cinderella's lovely. I've been singing her for about 20 years now, and it's always really nice to come back to her,” Genaux says. “The thing I like about Cinderella is that she's so altruistic. I've learned a lot from her about how to mellow out and know the right people will come along. She's very karma.”
Tenor Arthur Espiritu is always glad to return to Pittsburgh. Born in the Philippines and raised in New Orleans, he also says he feels Pittsburgh is his second home. He was a resident artist with the opera in 2005-06 and previously returned to sing Tebaldo in Vincenzo Bellini's “The Montagues and the Capulets” in 2008.
Rossini tenor roles fit his voice very well, and as his career has grown, he's sung some Verdi as well.
“I am realistic about my voice,” he says. “Some of Verdi feels low for me, but I had success as the Duke in ‘Rigoletto' because it sits very high.”
The tenor views his character, Don Ramiro, as a good person, inside and out, who does practice a little deception when he dresses up as a servant to make sure he falls in love with the right woman, even though his stature is as a prince.
“It's a very honest, very clear and very morally convoluted feel-good story,” he says. “It just melts your heart when he gets mad with the stepsisters at the end of the opera and Cinderella forgives them. It shows him that she is really a good woman.”
Epiritu's personal life reached a happy denouement at the end of last year when he tied the knot.
“Christina is a music teacher. We met in the Philippines when I was visiting for a gig and did a few master classes. We got married at the end of the world, at least according to the Mayan calendar, on Dec. 21, 2012.”
Mark Kanny is classical music critic for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Reliving the moment a decade ago that shifted the Penguins history
- Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
- Sutter: Staal effect felt on 3rd line with Penguins
- Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
- Pregnant woman killed by gunfire in Brighton Heights, other shootings reported in city
- Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
- 5 face trial in beating of black man in Pittsburgh
- Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell gets suspension, fine reduced
- Leetsdale places police chief on paid leave
- New Pens winger Fehr ready for defense-first role
- NFL notebook: Chiefs’ Poe will miss time after back surgery