Festival Opera

La Cenerentola

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Rachel Cronin

four stars

OPERA de Lyon will leave you giggling like a schoolgirl at this rebirth of Rossini’s almost-forgotten opera, La Cenerentola. This light-hearted take on Cinderella is a profound melee of ethereal singing, over-the-top acting, and hilariously questionable dancing. The blend of cultures in this French production led by up-and-coming Norwegian director, Stefan Herheim, artistically compliments the rich cultural flavours of the Edinburgh Festival.

One of Rossini’s forty operas, (which he notoriously wrote in twenty minutes) is sculpted for a Scottish audience with moments that leave us reeling - when Cinderella aids a beggar, offering him bread and coffee, multi-talented lead, Michèle Losier, promptly brandishes a box of Gregg’s Yum Yums and a reusable coffee cup.

Lines separating the stage and the audience blur as characters interact with the audience and orchestra. Edinburgh's own Katherine Aitken momentarily breaks character, giving a hearty "Get tae" to conductor, Stefano Montanari, who infiltrates the stage in disguise, adding genius elements of pantomime to the spectacle. The perfectly-timed comical moments help the opera glide along smoothly, and without them the production would seem slow paced.

Comedy is not the only layer of entertainment found in this old-new tale. Cinderella and Prince Ramiro (Taylor Stayton) share several elegant duets, their voices blending in such a way that we are left grinning giddily in our seats. The core of the story is not lost in this almost-parody, leaving an all round gleeful production with a message: "Goodness will prevail".

Rachel Cronin is a pupil at Royal High School and this review was submitted as part of The Herald Young Critics Project with the Edinburgh International Festival.