Cinderella Sneak Preview

Friday, October 29

You're in for a treat. We've got a guest blogger today - Joshua Dorothy (Tempo's board chair, remember him?)

So much can get done in so little time.

Tempo connects 20- and 30-somethings to Minnesota Opera. It seeks to grow the next generation of operagoers. I spent tonight with the next “next generation” of operagoers. Today’s teens and tweens will be Tempo eligible before we know it, and I’m thankful they’ll be interested in opera in good numbers.

The Opera invited students to tonight’s final dress rehearsal for Cinderella, and a few members of the Tempo board attended in hopes of recruiting some college students. We weren’t as successful as we might have hoped, since the students were predominantly of high-school age or younger. Which was hilarious during the “wine cellar” scene. (When you see it . . . you’ll get it.)

This production has come together quickly. The rehearsal process started on October 5, not even two days after the final curtain went down on Orpheus and Eurydice. To go from meet-and-greet to final-dress in 23 days is a feat in itself. The quality of what you will see on the Ordway stage (25 days total to opening night, and 33 days to closing) makes it nearly impossible to believe.
What’s even more astonishing is how much time went into perfecting each detail. I had the opportunity to spend an hour at a staging rehearsal on October 19. In one hour, I saw four choreographed sequences rehearsed and refined. That’s an average of 15 minutes on each sequence. Tonight, each went by in less than ten seconds.

Extrapolating backward for the entire production . . . is staggering. There can’t have been time. But there was. Or maybe someone worked a little magic. (Alidoro has a few more tricks up his sleeve, yes?)

There are people far better at providing a review than I. So I won’t even try. But let me tantalize you with some highlights to watch for on opening night:

Alidoro. The philosopher and tutor to Don Ramiro (a.k.a. “Prince Charming”) is fantastically debonair. Daniel Mobbs is a delight to watch.

Clorinda and Tisbe. These are the wicked stepsisters, portrayed by Resident Artists Angela Mortellaro and Victoria Vargas, respectively. Angie has an amazing pout, and fully embodies the slightly ditzy and very -- VERY -- spoiled-brattish Clorinda. Together, they reinforce my no-longer-secret suspicion that, every year, our mezzo and soprano resident artists forge a sisterly bond that alternates between the occasional feud between themselves and a constant fierce loyalty to each other and against the world.

The gentlemen in waiting. Also known as the chorus, these 16 men perform their hearts out for our director, Doug Varone. The choreography is at its best with them. They move in unison, with nearly military precision. (Come to think of it, I may have to ask Doug if he thinks military units move with near-dance-corps precision.) Rossini’s music often “tells” the audience where to clap, but even the master couldn’t anticipate Doug. Tonight’s audience interrupted the orchestra to cheer the chorus after a truly delightful sequence involving umbrellas.

Cinderella. Roxana is . . . oh so charming. You should fall in love with her from the start. Even the most cold-hearted can’t help but fall under her spell during Alidoro’s aria “Là del ciel nell'arcano profondo.” She has such joy and serenity, it emanates from her and practically lights the theatre. This is her debut on the American opera stage. Mark my words: people will envy you in a few years, when you can say you saw her in this production.


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