MICHAEL DRAKE Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich


> Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Minimal sets in director Alaistair Boag's always interesting production made some imagination necessary but a real appreciation of the fairytale's adaptation to the operatic stage came in Opera East's vocal skills.

Centre stage, Cenerentola has the most decorative of the arias and Cerys Jones made a mighty impression opposite handsome prince Ramiro, generally a romantic tenor despite a tendency to push a little hard at the top of his register.

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The Ugly Sisters fully played their parts, nicely overacting in outrageous dresses. and Rebecca Cooper and Julia Riley made the most with some powerful singing.

Their father Don Magnifico (baritone Andrew Heggie) was in turn domineering and fawning, while James McOran Campbell as Dandino slipped into the best of ballet with ease, leaving the prince's adviser Alidoro (Alex Ashworth) to strut the stage with great stature.

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Behind all this the dozen-strong OE orchestra conducted by Oliver Gooch did fine justice to Rossini's bright score. Just a pity that little publicity reduced the audience to minimal proportions.

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