Not quite Cinderella as we know it, La Cenerentola showed us a timeless love story, bright costumes and dancing mice for a thoroughly entertaining opera.
The Welsh National Opera visited Liverpool’s Empire theatre to entertain us with some classical opera; their performances ranging from an adaptation of War and Peace, to Rossini’s version of Cinderella with La Cenerentola. First performed in 1817, Rossini’s composition has some differences to the story of Cinderella that we know now: there is a vain step-father rather than mother, a bracelet rather than shoe, and rather than a ‘Fairy God-mother’ there is the philosopher Alidoro (the Prince’s tutor) that helps Cenerentola to the Ball.
The idea of disguise, and falling in love with a person rather than a status, is emphasised even more in the opera as Prince Ramiro asks his attendant Dandini to swap clothes with him, making for comical performances from Giorgio Caoduro (Dandini) and Matteo Macchioni (Ramiro). I enjoyed the idea of the Prince falling in love with Cinderella as he sees her as a mere servant, rather than only falling for her when she has been transformed. The chorus of courtiers also had a comical role in the opera, with them acting drunk in one song, wearing wonky hats and glasses, to standing with bananas in another scene.
The mice dancers were also a nice addition, as they expressed the emotions of the characters in each scene, and watched the story unfold as the audience do. The performance from Tara Erraught (Cenerentola) showed us the forgiving, kind Cinderella that we know, and the performances from Aoife Miskelly and Heather Lowe as the bullying sisters were entertaining especially with the bright wigs and costumes provided in the costume.
With an amazing orchestral accompaniment, watching La Cenerentola was an enjoyable experience, showing that the well known fairy tale can be performed in different mediums and still resonate with a modern audience.