I was fortunate to attend Wednesday’s opera dress rehearsal at the Barre Opera House — and what a great show it is!
This year the Green Mountain Opera Festival, now in its ninth season, is featuring Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” (“Cinderella”). The music, like his score for “The Barber of Seville,” just sparkles. You walk out humming.
Don’t think you are too old for fairy tales. This Cinderella is up to date, working in a diner. She is the long-suffering cook; her stepfather, Don Magnifico, owner of the diner, shuffles around in a worn cardigan and slippers; and the wicked, self-absorbed stepsisters are the waitresses. For the first time in the history of this opera, Prince Charming’s tutor turns up in drag: in blond wig, sequined dress and gold shoes s/he becomes Cinderella’s fairy godmother, sung by a bass.
Stage director Jeffrey Buchman has produced a truly entertaining “Cenerentola,” full of comic touches.
This year the festival has a resident choreographer, and she keeps the singers moving: no park and bark here. In the first act in the diner, the male chorus does a song-and-dance routine (using coffee cups and The Times Argus) that would do any American musical proud.
The singers, from principals to the chorus, are all excellent as well as convincing actors. Artistic Director Bruce Stasyna has done an outstanding job casting this production. And the 29-piece orchestra is up to festival standard.
“La Cenerentola” will be performed this evening and Sunday afternoon. This is real, live opera in an intimate setting, not broadcast from a distant location. Whether you are a die-hard opera fan or a newcomer to opera, don’t miss it. It is great theater.
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