Seattle Opera rings in the New Year next month with royalty, a ball, and plenty of giant rats when it stages La Cenerentola, Rossini's effervescent take on the Cinderella story. But you won't find a glass slipper, an evil stepmother, or a fairy godmother in this opera; instead, this uniquely Italian retelling features a prince in disguise, a pompous stepfather, and a wise philosopher. Love, laughter, virtue, and brilliant bel canto vocalism win out at the end of this opera by the composer of The Barber of Seville. La Cenerentola opens tonight, January 12, and runs for eight performances through January 26."This production of Rossini's brilliant La Cenerentola has delighted audiences everywhere it has played," says Seattle Opera General Director Speight Jenkins. "With a cast of exciting young voices who will make this exacting music their own, and a story that is less about fantasy and more about what's important in life, our unforgettable Cinderella promises to enchant audiences young and old."In fact, the Sunday matinee on January 20 gives families the perfect opportunity to experience La Cenerentola at a huge discount: as one of this season's designated Family Day performances, adults may purchase up to four $15 youth tickets for every full-priced adult ticket. For information and tickets, visit www.seattleopera.org/tickets/2012-2013/cinderella/family_day.aspx.Opening night stars a mix of audience favorites and new voices, including the company debuts of Italian mezzo-soprano Daniela Pini as Angelina And American tenor René Barbera as Don Ramiro. According to La Nuova Sardegna, Pini "delineated an exquisite, elegant, precise and expressive Cinderella, always delicate in phrasing, which unfolds in tones of fascinating melancholy while not renouncing vocal presence." The December issue of Opera News proclaimed Barbera "not just another bel canto tenor who can toss off nine high Cs before breakfast; his singing is suffused with the kind of old-fashioned warmth that is often supplanted in florid rep by laser-sharp precision." Bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi, most recently seen in Seattle as Ping in the season-opening hit Turandot, returns as Don Magnifico, Cinderella's cruelly dismissive stepfather. On January 13, 20, and 25, mezzo-soprano Karin Mushegain and Uruguayan tenor Edgardo Rocha also make their Seattle Opera debuts as Angelina And Don Ramiro, with bass Valerian Ruminski singing the role of Don Magnifico.All performances of La Cenerentola feature baritone Brett Polegato as Dandini. Polegato, after singing a nuanced Consul Sharpless in Seattle Opera's Madama Butterfly in May, sang Kurwenal in Ireland's first Tristan und Isolde in fifty years. Fresh off his recent performance as Rocco in the October production of Fidelio is bass Arthur Woodley, who also returns in February as Colline in La bohème. Two current Seattle Opera Young Artists round out the cast as Angelina's wicked stepsisters: soprano Dana Pundt makes her mainstage debut as Clorinda, and mezzo-soprano Sarah Larsen-who received glowing praise for her turn as Suzuki in last spring's Madama Butterfly-sings Tisbe.The young Italian conductor Giacomo Sagripanti makes his Seattle Opera debut with this production. L'Opera called him "a talent worthy to keep an eye on...vigorous and involving tempo choices, personal musical ideas always very appropriate and effective, a strong attention to the balance between pit and stage." Also new to the company is the creative team behind this La Cenerentola: stage direction by Joan Font, choreography by Xevi Dorca, sets and costumes by Joan Guillén, and original lighting by Albert Faura (revival lighting by Kiko Planas). According to Opera News, the visual effects of this production are "attractively outrageous, with neon colors, wild takes on period costumes and wigs, and incredibly clever pieces of stage business (at least two warranted applause) - not to mention those rats, who evolved from Cenerentola's confidants to worthy stagehands, all the while providing an engaging visual counterpoint to the music." The production is jointly owned by Houston Grand Opera Association, Welsh National Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu, and Grand Théâtre de Genève.La Cenerentola premieres tonight, January 12, and runs through Saturday, January 26. Tickets are available online at seattleopera.org or by calling 206.389.7676 or 800.426.1619. Tickets may also be purchased at the Box Office by visiting 1020 John Street (two blocks west of Fairview), Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Ticket prices start at $25.Please note the following artist list for La Cenerentola replaces all previously announced cast lists. Further information on the 2012/13 season and full biographies of the cast members can be found at seattleopera.org.
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