Gioacchino Rossini’s Cinderella (La Cenerentola) played two acclaimed performances as OLV’s season finale on 8 and 10 June 2018 in UNLV’s Judy Bayley Theatre.
Making her role (and OLV) debut as Angelina (Cinderella), rising star mezzo-soprano Mary Beth Nelson proved a radiant heroine. Her committed acting and lustrous singing won the heart of not only the Prince but also the vociferously appreciative audience. Gregory Schmidt’s gleaming lyric tenor encompassed the role of Prince Ramiro with ease and his stylistic acumen gifted the proceedings with honeyed and spirited singing.
Brian James Myer made a triumphant return to Opera Las Vegas as Dandini (another smashing role debut), the “false Prince” who generates the most laughs in the show, all the while deploying his substantial baritone with tonal beauty, speed, and grace. Giving him a run for his money, Adelmo Guidarelli’s blustering, resonant Don Magnifico embodied a well-rounded characterization that was by turns buffo bravado and slyly malevolent. Mssrs. Myer and Gidarelli brought the house down with their bickering Act II duet, one of the show’s many highlights.
Soprano Adelaide Boedecker and mezzo-soprano Daniell Marcelle Bond were luxury casting as the neurotic stepsisters Clorinda and Tisbe. Their unbridled antics were surpassed only by their brilliant, effortless vocalizing. Rounding out the stellar cast, Gabriel Manro was a tall, imposing presence as the Alidoro. Mr. Manro first colored his sizable baritone to good effect as the mysterious beggar, and then let it all rip as the gentleman “fixer,” as he took awesome ownership of his extended florid aria.
In the pit, Maestro Joshua Horsch made his company debut leading a taut, stylistically correct reading of Rossini’s comic gem that seamlessly knit together the 19 musicians, 7 soloists and Joseph Svendsen’s well-tutored male chorus. Another debutante was the assured director Audrey Chait, whose busy yet well-focused staging amused and touched in equal measure.
Lily Bartenstin contributed an effectively spare set design that contrasted the oppressive homestead with the stylized “Vegas” bright and shining appearance of the palace. Ginny Adams worked her usual magic with a varied and atmospheric lighting design that included recessed LED lights in the Palace units. The effective, often luxurious costumes were furnished by Malaber LTD.
When the final curtain rang down on La Cenerentola, audience members were heard to exclaim that this performance was Opera Las Vegas’ best production to date. The bar has been set high for the next Main Stage production, Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore (The Exlixir of Love) scheduled for 7 and 9 June 2019.