Tuesday, March 26, 2013

La Cenerentola

Just back from an AMAZING performance of Rossini’s La Cenerentola. As some of you guys know I attended some rehearsals the last weeks and now have gone there on their closing night to see the finished product. This was by far the best opera I've seen here in Brasil.
Well my cousin who was going with me took “sick” and didn’t go, but that’s quite alright because I sat with a very good buddy of mine from college, a fellow musician. The first thing that made me real real happy was the fact that I was seeing loads of young faces, not teenager young but still under 60/50 which is already a huge accomplishment. The house was packed, and you could feel the enthusiasm building up.
First things first, cast list;
Loriana Castellano Angelina
Leonardo Ferrando Don Ramiro
Homero Velho Dandini
Bruno Praticò Don Magnifico
Carlos Eduardo Marcos Alidoro
Edna D’Oliveira Clorinda
Ednéia de Oliveira Tisbe

Maestro in, and let the party begin. We start off with a very clever way to not losing the public on the overture, because let’s be honest, those Rossini overtures just really take their time hun? While the overture played we had a scene with Dandini, Don Ramiro and Alidoro, where they discuss (silently of course) their plan to trade roles. Curtain opens we have the two sisters drowning in makeup and fake lashes, No, no, no, nooooo!... Si, si, si, siiiiiii! These sisters were on fire! I must admit that when I first saw this opera I found the sisters quite dull, but these ladies stole the show, they were hilarious!
Just a thing, I’m writing on the balcony because my cousin is asleep and I just saw the entire cast pass by on the street, COOL! Back to the opera, the sweet adorable Cenerentola enters with her Una volta… and the sisters almost kill her with daggers shot by their eyes! Enters Don Magnifico, the guy is awesome, let me just say that, he’s a wondrous singer and a fantastic comedian. He kept up with the frantic and amazing real life sisters and together the trio was unstoppable, it was very clear that they were improvising things as they went and doing so absolutely organically and with loads of fantastic humor.

Then comes my favorite duet from the whole opera Un soave non so che… Oh man, the guy who played Don Ramiro was super dreamy and has a silky very refined voice, their duet was deliciously romantic, it made us feel as if walking on clouds too mesmerized, such good quality! First rate stuff! Then we have our very Dandini dressed up as the prince, kind of trying too hard to imitate royalty, waving like a pageant girl which was real funny.
This is one part I really have mixed feelings about, what follows when Cenerentola asks to go to the ball and Don Magnifico is such a pig to her you want to rip is throat out! I don’t even have to comment that it was all perfectly executed, but this part gets me real mad. Cenerentola is left alone and on he comes her fairy Godfather/father/tutor of the prince where have you been all these years? (I feel like that is what Cenerentola should say to him when he shows, but she’s too forgiving…) Again we had a first rate singer, absolutely perfect for the repertoire, while he sang his two impressive arias the set changed from Don Magnifico’s house to Prince Ramiro’s palace. In the palace we have Tisbe and Clorinda running after the so called Prince with arduous fervor, they hit on him quite sexily, well their version of sexy anyways…

The thing with the sisters is that since they are real life sisters they have an organic timing and it’s absolutely perfect, they are those kind of sisters that complete each other’s sentences (they actually do that, Tisbe goes GRA and Clorinda goes CIE!), And also the faces they make were hard to not crack up upon looking at, anger, pleasure, rage, hope, all were seen as if using a magnifying glass!
And here comes on Magnifico drunk as drunk can get wearing a grape tiara just like Bacco! He sang his aria with majesty and yes, a lot of humor too, he actually asked for an audience member to write down the letter he as dictating.

Another thing I found very smart that they did was add some jokes, speaking one or two words in Portuguese, this quickly won over the public who was dying of laughter! Plus, some of the times the characters would enter the scene from the audience another great thing that I think helped the pubic warm up to the piece even more! Not it really needed special effort for the singers won everyone over with their stellar performances.

Cenerentola finally gets to the ball and the sisters look as if they are going to rip her to shreds! The first act ending was a beautiful scene with everyone on stage and good staging. The public went wild with applause at that, actually, after every single thing they sang, solos, duos, trios, quartets, quintets, you name it the crowd would give it’s all in enthusiastic clapping, which made me real happy!
Intermission went by quite quickly, me and my buddy didn’t even get up, we talked to our other buddies who were working there and before we knew it second act was starting.
We have another glorious aria for Don Magnifico and the sisters accompany him quite rightly, they even danced the samba, YES, they danced the SAMBA, it was supper cool! The sisters try to make yet another bold move on the “prince” and when he tells them that the other sister should marry is friend, they freak out and it was ooh so hilarious! The actual prince is quite taken by Cenerentola, as we all know, and Dandini tries to make a move and she ends up confessing her love to his friend. This part I find rather funny, because she’s telling something to Dandini super hush, hush and then suddenly the subject of the conversation just springs out of nowhere talking of love, but it’s Rossini, we will let it go…

One of the pics I took in the dress rehearsal
She leaves but before she does she gives him a bracelet so he can look for her. Next the prince takes his rightful place at the throne and wants to trovar his bella! What a VOICE, smooth and AWESOME! This cast was really a gift! Wonderful, just wonderful!

Don Ramiro singing his kick ass aria

Then the FUNNIEST MOMENT OF MY OPERA LIFE HAPPENED! Curtain closes and we have Dandini telling Don Magnifico he’s actually not the prince, alrightly. UNTIL Don Magnifico is singing and accidentally drops his walking stick on the ORCHESTRA PIT! There was a huge gasp from the audience and since I was sitting in the third role I could see Don Magnifico going Scusa! To the Maestro and the Maestro giving him the eye, but the funniest thing was, they did not stop! But then Dandini and Magnifico went near the pit to look over and see if everything was ok, while singing. At this the audience was filled with laughter and clapping, I myself laughed my behind off! And at the end of the duet Don Magnifico said “AI MINHA NOSSA SENHORA” which means OH HOLY MOTHER OF GOD in Portuguese, and the funniest thing is, he isn’t even brasilian, he’s Italian. Great guy, great singer and great actor!

The funniest moment of my life!
After this accident it was quite hard going back to Cenerentola’s Una volta… I wanted to laugh so bad! Well, the prince found his Cinderella and after Queste è un nodo… We are left again with the sisters not wanting to bow to Cenerentola not even for their lives, but eventually giving in. Skip, skip, skip we get to the most important aria of the piece Non Piu Mesta, I’m picky about this one, but the girl rocked it out, she was fabulous.
Thunderous applause, the curtain closed and even before it opened again most of the audience was on their feet clapping, cheering and screaming loads of BRAVA, BRAVO, BRAVI!

After it was over everyone went to the main lobby to talk to the singers, but me and Anara (my friend who super got me in!) waited in the deserted theatre. I just took in everything, what a night, and then being there at that theatre alone, I felt like I belonged. I did sing my praises to all of the singers, so cool to actually get to say “Bravo Signore!”. Then I went to talk to Don Ramiro and he was a sweet pie, so, so, so nice! I said I wanted a picture and Cenerentola was just running by and I said quietly, “Oh I wish she could be in the picture too.” No need to say anything more, he called after her and we took an AWESOME picture in the theatre!

Awesome ending to an awesome evening! Gracie tutti!
Another awesome thing was that I got to leave the theatre yet again from the stage door, therefore going through the stage and all the feels happened, specially since they had actually performed for a whole audience tonight for the last time, the energy was crazy!

Well, please I’m a crazy happy bunny tonight, it’s super late, 2:00 in the morning, it’s super cold around here, yes I’m still in the balcony, but I’m radiating happiness. This life is awesome, ooh, and I started learning how to play the piano on Friday, it was so much fun! :) Peace peeps!

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