La Cenerentola Premiere // Angelina (Wallis Giunta) & Don Ramiro (Matteo Macchioni) © Kirsten Nijhof

‘Tis the season for Cinderella, Rossini style


I love Cinderella. My first watch was a Cinderella watch. I wanted to be like her because all the animals loved her. Just look at the lovely dress they made for her!

Or maybe I loved the glass slipper because the best part of playing dress up was wearing the shoes. My grandmother used to put her out of season clothes in my closet at her house. Naturally I had shoes and bags to match.

Perhaps it’s the love at first sight sung about in Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella that I used to watch on TV every year. Maybe it’s the ability to go to faraway places and live faraway lives without leaving your chair.

Wallis Giunta says Cinderella’s a character we can all relate to. She remains good and kind even though she has a horrible life due to circumstances beyond her control. In the end, she represents our fight against injustice. She should know.

Wally is Cinderella in Rossini’s  La Cenerentola.

Rossini was 25 when he wrote La Cenerentola, and it only took him three weeks. All I can say to that is he must have not slept a wink! The story is slightly different from the one we all know. For instance (spoiler alert) there’s no glass slipper and no fairy godmother. Fair enough. Special effects were harder to come by in 1817.

I first saw it performed at Leipzig Oper in June. I spent a fair amount of time reading the German subs. Although I enjoyed it, I can say I was able to lose myself in the music more this time since I already knew the story.

And the music is truly something to get lost in. There are many times when there are multiple singers singing different parts at the same time. It’s like the voices are instruments in the orchestra, especially if you don’t understand Italian.

La Cenerentola Premiere 19.03.2016 // Dandini (Mathias Hausmann), Don Ramiro (Matteo Macchioni), Alidoro (Sejong Chang), Don Magnifico (José Fardilha) © Kirsten Nijhof
La Cenerentola
Premiere 19.03.2016 // Dandini (Mathias Hausmann), Don Ramiro (Matteo Macchioni), Alidoro (Sejong Chang), Don Magnifico (José Fardilha) © Kirsten Nijhof

The other advantage to not having to concentrate on the subtitles was I got to pay more attention to the characters and they are pretty funny. Rossini was young enough to be able to poke fun at the wannabes created by inequality, while still believing that injustice can be put right.

Wally makes a very convincing Cinderella who occasionally belts out some pretty crazy notes for one so meek. Her step-sisters are not bad on the eyes, but are ugly in that they are quite selfish and vulgar and so well disguised that you’d never know them in the street. (Magdalena Hinterdobler and Franziska Rabl)  Cinderella’s dad is hilarious (José Fardilha) and the Prince’s valet is just as funny (Jonathan Michie).

It is amazing how far we’ve come and yet how little we’ve progressed since Rossini’s time.

Next performance 27 Dec.


Artist, curator and writer: maeshelle west-davies gleans her varied life experiences to expose a personal perspective through a multitude of mediums.

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