- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Cinderella arias toll season’s end for Trap Opera
The irrepressible Wolf Trap Opera Company concluded its 2005 season Saturday at the Filene Center with a sprightly performance of Gioacchino Rossini’s “La Cenerentola.” Although performed without scenery in front of the onstage orchestra, this “concert version” featured agile young singers performing in contemporary costumes, with wonderful music accentuated by plenty of madcap stage business.
Operatic Cinderellas seem to have become a big deal in Washington recently. The Washington National Opera staged a quirky version of Rossini’s opera at the Kennedy Center a little more than a year ago. The Summer Opera recently concluded a nifty run of Jules Massenet’s lovely, more traditional take on the tale (“Cendrillon”) at Catholic University. And Wolf Trap itself mounted a hilarious, fully staged version of “Cenerentola” in the barns a few seasons back.
Based loosely on a popular French fairy tale and more broadly comic than Massenet’s later effort, Rossini’s musical wand gives Cinderella (whose name is really Angelina) an evil dad (Don Magnifico) instead of a wicked stepmother. And our heroine’s true identity is revealed by means of matching bracelets rather than the famous missing glass slipper in the Walt Disney version.
As Cinderella-Angelina, young mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey, who originally hails from Roanoke, was outstanding. Playing a feistier-than-usual protagonist, she negotiated Rossini’s vicious vocal arabesques flawlessly — particularly in her signature final aria — with high notes that sparkled like silver bells and low ones that seemed to cross over into baritone territory. She is clearly a talent to watch.
No slouch in the hero department, tenor Javier Abreu — whose Renfield-like turn as young Tobias in the company’s “Sweeney Todd” earlier this summer was a creepy success — once again turned in a sterling performance, this time as the prince, Don Ramiro. Slight of stature, Mr. Abreu startles with a tenor that alternates thunder with moments of great delicacy laced with deft touches of vocal athleticism.
Remaining cast members also turned in superb if occasionally frenetic performances. As Angelina’s dastardly dad, Don Magnifico, bass Alfonso Antoniozzi was a preening Snidely Whiplash of a villain with low notes and an excellent sense of physical timing. Mugging outrageously and flaunting wardrobes that would instantly win Joan Rivers’ ire — as we should only expect of truly wicked stepsisters — mezzo Audrey Babcock (Tisbe) and soprano Evelyn Pollock (Clorinda) contributed a piquant mix of vocal and physical tension to the action.
As Ramiro’s disguised valet Dandini, baritone Weston Hurt was as notable for his excellent, crisp diction as he was for his deft comic double takes. And as Alidoro, Ramiro’s esteemed former teacher and Angelina’s virtual fairy godfather, bass-baritone Daniel Gross was an authoritative master of the revels, controlling the frenzied action with a profoundly deep voice of great authority.
Conducted by a laid-back Dean Williamson, the WNO Orchestra accompanied the singers with feeling and precision, even on a steamy Virginia evening, and the male chorus was robust and hearty at all the right times. Garnett Bruce’s direction cleverly made the most out of minimal stage resources. And even Wolf Trap’s sometimes iffy miking of its opera singers — unfortunately necessary in such a cavernous space — was generally without mishap, although Mr. Gross’ apparatus occasionally muffled his fine, clear voice.
MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- CURL: The modern GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. deploys 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland as exercise in response to Ukraine situation
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
- Six Senate seats could hinge on Keystone pipeline
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again