The newest premiere of Sofia Opera and Ballet – the comic opera “La Cerenerola” by Gioachino Rossini will be again on stage on 12.04 at 19.00 h and on 13.04 at 16.00 h.
The fascinating fairy-tale story about the little poor girl, who transformed into a princess, is a little bit modified here – the female character lives with her stepfather and his daughters. There is no the good fairy, who realizes the fairy-tale transformations in the plot, familiar to so many generations of children. Instead by her the action is led by Alidoro, tutor of prince Ramiro. There is no pumpkin, no magic; there are apparently also no magical transformations. Everything is set on the edge between the serious and the comical – now clear, now half-hidden, now only with a slight wink. The elegant production of Vera Petrova provoked smiles and good humour even there, where according to the libretto we should feel slightly sad. “I like very much exactly this interpretation, by which my character is active, merry and cheerful. I have played in versions, in which Cinderella is the personification of suffering, but I prefer the reading of Vera Petrova”, shared Oana Andra, one of the three performers of the main role. She made her debut in the role still as a student, but she continues to like Rossini’s music and especially this opera by him. What the audience of the Sofia “La Cerenerola”can only guess, is that for some 40 seconds the main character changes her clothes before her final very beautiful aria. Except Oana Andra, the Sofia audience will meet again with Maria Jinga as Cinderella. For Georgi Sultanov and Hrisimir Damyanov (Don Ramiro) this is the first acquaintance with the work by the popular Italian. Martin Tsonev knows excellently this opera from his not a few participations in it, but as the quarrelsome little old man Don Magnifico. Since years Tsonev was dreaming to sing the part of Alidoro and here it is – his dream came true on the stage of Sofia Opera and Ballet, at that with a great success.
Debutants as Dandini, but also in that title by Rossini, are Atanas Mladenov and Svilen Nikolov. In the roles of Cinderella’s both stepsisters this time the audience will see Milena Gyurova and Bilyana Traykovska (Clorinda) and Blagovesta Mekki-Tsvetkova and Raya Nacheva (Tisbe).
The scenography of the young, but gaining speed with each next spectacle Boryana Angelova is unusual and in perfect consonance with the director’s reading of the work. Huge colourful eggs accommodate the characters at times as chambers, at times as chariot, at times they transform into a flower garden. The fresh and bright sensation coming from these original decisions is completed by the gorgeous, deliberately decided at the edge between the beautiful and the kitsch costumes by Hristiana Mihaleva-Zorbalieva. True in the reading of Rossini, the conductor Grigor Palikarov also looks fascinated by the entire highly positive atmosphere which exhales from the stage.
Even if advised beforehand, the happy end in this work doesn’t come by itself. Rossini has borrowed from Charles Perrault only the happier denouement, by which Cinderella nobly intercedes for her evil and envious sisters. The interweaving of the subjects of forgiveness and love, humbleness and hopes, which come true, makes so “delicious” the end product on the stage of Sofia Opera and Ballet. Behind the curtain will remain the work of many months of the whole team, the torments and the doubts, the discovering of the true decisions for all multiple challenges, which it faced, in order to “take over” Rossini’s work into the 21 century.
Besides all other merits, the opera “La Cerenerola” inspires courage and optimism in the too troubled times two whole centuries after its writing and first performance. Now, in Sofia, in this production, it is as if we are seeing Rossini to give us encouragingly a wink with a smile.