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Des Moines.

Every child knows the story of Cinderella, though not necessarily as Rossini and his librettist, Jacopo Ferretti, conceived it in La cenerentola, which was mounted by Des Moines Metro Opera in June. They retained the basics, but changed some of the details. Gone are the evil stepmother and the fairy godmother, replacing them with an evil stepfather, Don Magnifico (sung here by David Ward), and Alidoro, a philosopher-magician (sung by Andrew Costello). The lead character also undergoes a name change. Here she's Angelina (Canadian mezzo Mariateresa Magisano), a much feistier tender of the hearth. The prince, Don Ramiro (John Osborn), is still looking for a bride, having decided he wants one with a heart rather than one who's attracted to his wealth.

To observe the situation from a distance, he disguises himself as a servant and makes his servant, Dandini (David Small), "the prince." The story makes full use of the mistaken identities, and the comedy is painted in such broad strokes that it often seems as if you are watching something from Gilbert and Sullivan.

Still, Rossini makes full use of bel canto technique, which sounds tremendous when the opera is performed in the original Italian. DMMO, however, used an English-language version that frequently irritated the ears. But Magisano and Osborn were two good reasons to stick it out. Magisano, a native of Montreal, boasts a lovely voice and sparkles like the jewels that hang around her neck during the ballroom scene. This diminutive singer has a personality that radiates through her smile, and she established a great rapport with the scene-stealing tenor of Osborn. Audiences for this production were a bit hesitant to give standing ovations, but rose noisily to their feet when these two came out.
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Title Annotation:United States
Author:Fielding, Julien R.
Publication:Opera Canada
Date:Sep 22, 2004
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