Chance has made “The Traviata” has become a reference title in times of pandemic. Madrid’s Teatro Real, then Seville, Las Palmas, Jerez, Barcelona… had the play scheduled before some cancellations arrived, as has happened at the Liceo, forced to suspend after the premiere due to lack of viability due to the lack of capacity. Apart from management problems, the verdi opera it has acted as a metaphor for the present, or at least some comment has made it manifest. In a more symbolist dimension he also did «Game over” at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia, a theater that at the beginning of the season appears strongly thanks to the solidity and originality of its proposals. After Kurtág’s opera, Rossinian’s “La Cenerentola” is now being presented in co-production with Amsterdam and Geneva. In it, the restlessness of the lost, the desire to achieve a suitable future also have their importance.
Perrault’s tale is the background to the “Cinderella” that Rossini put to music after asking his librettist, Jacopo Ferretti, to forget about supernatural effects to take care of people, their feelings and desires. The detail is fundamental because on it the scenic proposal of Laurent Pelly is built, whose good hand for comic matters manages, once again, to reconcile with the theatrical talent, shaping a production of extraordinary solidity and assembly. The feeling is relaxing and very much in favor of those who are nervous when they think they see the disturbing hand of a stage director with his own ideas. Pelly smiles at all of them, pampers them… and, without giving a choice, shakes them in his armchairs. He does it mischievously because the show evolves perfectly oiled and very much in favor of the work the labyrinth of cars that enter and leave laterally until building the staggered sixties mansion of Don Magnífico, Cenerentola’s cruel stepfather. It is a formidable sleight of hand that formalizes space and presents it in continuous variation.
The light and the costumes, towards a nuanced ocher, act in favor of the scene and are a fundamental detail once the worn, decadent and fatigued world of Cenerentola opens its door to the pinkish merengous of the prince’s palace in which everything is exuberant . Prodigious lamps, mirrors, sconces descend silhouetted in cardboard, making a cut-out stage. A grandiose carriage also descends from the sky, which Cenerentola climbs on without yet knowing all the good things that fate has in store for it. It is a moment of illusion at the end of the first act, elegant and on the border of kitsch, which tempts the eyes like the meringue of the cake on the finger. A story allows almost everything, including the exaggeration, that Pelly handles with perverse intention when managing to fuse the immense joy of Cenerentola after being chosen by the prince with sadness when verifying that everything is a dream. At the beginning of the work, Angelina, the protagonist, appears in a hollow space with a mop in hand and lit by an overhead spotlight that accentuates the cleaner’s face. The return to the same scene at the end of the play explains that the Cenerentola never existed. Pelly has found a simple solution to a message of heartbreaking bitterness.
In Valencia, «La Cenerentola» focuses its gaze on this setting, the splendor of which owes much to a carpentry that is substantiated in the totality but that is built from the gesture. And the small has a difficult fit in a theater in which the stage is so far from the viewer that definition is sometimes lost in the voices. Suffers it, even Anna Goryachova, despite its forcefulness and that it overwhelms in its Valencian presentation due to the quality of a deep and thick timbre, which gives the protagonist a very particular drama, due to the technical guarantee and personality. He approached the final round “Nacqui all’afanno” with prudence, he grew in intensity and finished the fragment with a prodigious and exciting authority. He should have greeted alone and in the first place before the curtain rose. The theater would have boiled, but there was no opportunity because the rigorous choreography with which the final greetings are generally approached does not understand exceptionalities or give rise to magnifying individualities: the group matters, the totality. This detail harmed Goryachova and Carlos Chausson, who continues to show that he has no rival before the buff and that his Don Magnifico, in the limit of the grotesque, has strength to drag the rest of the cast. The “duet” with Carles Pachón, “Un segreto d’importanz”, served the latter to set up a performance that had been measured up to that point, but which contains the possibility of turning Dandini into a true usurper.
Loyalty to the letter
Larisa Stefan and Evgeniya Khomutova, belonging to the Center de Perfeccinment del Palace of ArtsThey maintain the mischievous personality of Angelina’s half-sisters and somewhat less the air of envy. Riccardo Fassi solves the magician Aliodoro with solvency, although his lack of rhythmic accuracy is evident even when he is forced to follow the scene with the magic wand turned into a baton. In reality, they are nuances of a well-armed cast, which is finished off with the presence of the tenor Lawrence Brownlee who approaches Don Ramiro with confidence, accuracy in execution and impeccable loyalty to the lyrics. The aria “Yes, find it again, I swear” in its marbled execution it also synthesizes the general character of a prudent and restrained musical version. In this sense, the work of maestro Carlo Rizzi is definitive. With it, “La Cenerentola” becomes a solid architecture: it accompanies comfortably, tempers the moat, differentiates planes and builds a version that sounds chamber-like, tempering the sensation of vertigo that is implicit in a vocal writing that reaches the reckless. Rizzi highlights the Orchestra of the Valencian Community and it re-establishes the Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana in an impeccable position, very much in line with its role as a comparsa: the concertante who closes the first act and the final round are clear examples. With this, a complex balance is reached in which the judicious musical version of Carlo Rizzi, the participation of a solid cast with Anna Goryachova at the head, and the impeccable, surprising and alchemist production of Laurent Pelly come together. An obvious and unlikely mix.