Put aside all thoughts of the Disney version of the famous fairy tale. This finely shaded libretto by Jacopo Ferretti, set to Giachomo Rossini's robust score, is a horse of a different color. Back in the day, when the Church had censorship over the Italian stage, Rossini found himself stymied from composing to a risqué Gaetano Rossi libretto. In a late-night's wit's end search for a replacement script, Rossini finally agreed to Ferretti's umpteenth suggestion, Cinderella.

Daniela Mack as Angelina (Cinderella) and Michele Angelini as Prince Ramiro
Daniela Mack as Angelina (Cinderella)
and Michele Angelini as Prince Ramiro
Photo: Matthew Staver
As it turned out, this choice also required adjustments to pass the judgment of the Vatican, but in every way the edits, including Rossini's insistence that all magical elements be stripped from the plot, enhance the message, which is really about the strong moral character of Cinderella (Daniela Mack). Mack's soprano is lovely from top to bottom and wowed us with coloratura once she warmed up. She's a natural actress as well.

<(Left to right) Julia Tobiska as Tisbe and Christie Hageman as Clorinda
(L to R) Julia Tobiska as Tisbe
and Christie Hageman as Clorinda
Photo: Matthew Staver
Before we meet our princess-to-be, we are introduced to her two self-absorbed half-sisters, Clorinda (Christie Hageman) and Tisbe (Julia Tobiska), who are clueless to their own absurdity and clownishness. Hageman and Tobiska have fun hamming it up as the outlandish siblings, hyperbolizing their vanity, scorning their step-sister, and pestering their father, the shameless Don Magnifico (Philip Cokorinos). Cokorinos' lively stage presence and nuanced bass-baritone are a delight.

Philip Cokorinos as Don Magnifico
Philip Cokorinos
as Don Magnifico
Photo: Matthew Staver
In Ferretti's nuanced story, Dandini (Daniel Belcher), the valet to Prince Ramiro (Michele Angelini), stands in for his boss, and Alidoro (Dale Travis), the prince's tutor, disguises himself as a beggar, to expose the prejudices of those who would presume to be worthy of the prince's attentions.

Belcher makes hay in a wonderfully comedic vocal and physical performance, while Travis sonorous tones and commanding presence lends a conscience to his charge's instincts. Angelini's tenor is pleasing and suffused with sincerity; his elocution, refreshing.

Conductor Timothy Long keeps the pace brisk, feeding the comedic rhythm.

Remaining performances of Opera Colorado's Cinderella are May 6th and 8th. 303-357-ARTS.

Bob Bows


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