Geneva Light Opera presents Gioachino Rossini’s take on the classic Cinderella story, “La Cenerentola,” this summer in the historic Smith Opera House. This new storybook production, directed by Steve Vaughan, will be conducted by acclaimed maestro Eric Mahl — both making their company debuts with this piece — and stars sensational mezzo-soprano Sarah Nordin in the title role and renowned Metropolitan Opera basso and Nickel City Opera founder/artistic director Valerian Ruminski as Don Magnifico, her wicked stepfather.
Can goodness trump selfishness and vanity? A trapped and tender-hearted Cenerentola cooks and cleans for her buffoonish stepfather and her snooty stepsisters while she dreams of a better life. When two visitors arrive at her home – a prince disguised as his own servant and the prince’s servant disguised as a beggar – she shows them the kindness that no one else in the house will. Fate rewards her with an invitation to the ball where the prince will choose his bride. Is there a happy ending in store for her?
Three performances are scheduled from July 29 through August 1 in the acoustically-superb Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca St., in downtown Geneva. Curtain time is 7:30 on Thursday, July 29, and 3:00 on Saturday and Sunday, July 31 and August 1. All seats are in the orchestra and can be purchased for $25 at genevalightopera.org or at the door. Live streaming options are also available on the website for $25.
The cast also features rising tenor tenor Esteban Zúñiga Calderón as Don Ramiro, the charming Prince of Salerno. Returning favorites Michelle Seipel and Emily Hughes play Cenerentola’s cruel stepsisters, Clorinda and Tisbe. Baritone Brian Keith Johnson sings the role of Dandini, the Prince’s valet and confidant, and basso Tyler Putnam returns to Geneva in the role of Alidoro, the Prince’s tutor, who manages to add a philosophical twist to this classic tale. Conducting the singers and a reduced orchestral ensemble of piano and strings is Eric Mahl with the musical collaboration of Christian Capocaccia in a carefully cultivated version of the acclaimed opera that runs 95 minutes with one fifteen minute intermission.
Ferretti and Rossini spent just over one month working on the opera, beginning work December 23, 1816, with a premiere on January 27, 1817. Rossini composed “La Cenerentola” after the great success of his work “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” (“The Barber of Seville”), which Geneva Light Opera presented in 2018.
“‘La Cenerentola’ is the perfect family-friendly opera, and a great production for the first-time opera-goer,” said Geneva Light Opera General Director Gena Rangel. “It is a bright and heartwarming piece about true love and generosity of spirit, and we can’t wait to share it. Finally!”
The entire production will be performed in English, and English supertitles will again be projected above the stage in The Smith.
Geneva Light Opera’s mission is to inspire, educate and entertain Finger Lakes audiences by presenting quality operatic productions through collaboration of young performers, local professionals and nationally known artists.
This production of “La Cenerentola” is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts’ Decentralization Program, administered locally by Finger Lakes Community Arts Grants, and by the Williams Family Foundation, American Landmark Festivals, and the Nelson B. Delavan Foundation.
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