Gioacchino Rossini
LA CENERENTOLA - Angelina
Pesaro / Rossini Opera Festival / August 1998

© la Repubblica, 12. August 1998, Seite 37, Michelangelo Zurletti

... Della protagonista, Vesselina Kasarova, diciamo semplicemente che non ci ha fatto rimpiangere nessuna delle grandi Cenerentole del passato. Impeccabile nelle fioriture è anche una magnifica musicista, oltre che attrice di grande fascino. ...

© La Stampa, 12. August 1998, Seite 22, Paolo Gallarati

... e il contralto Vesselina Kasarova, che partorirà tra qualque mese il bebè più allegro del mondo se continuerà a farlo crescere cantanto Rossini, si è ormai tranquillamente insediata tra le prime cantanti di oggi: agilità perfette, tensione drammatica degna di una Valentini Terrani, bellezza di voce simile a quella della Berganza. ...

© Il Giorno, 12. August 1998, Seite 20, Adriano Cavicchi

... Dolcissima e seducente Vesselina Kasarova nella toccante melodia "Una volta c'era un re ..." e di strabiliante virtuosismo e perfetta omogeneità nel Rondò finale. ...

© Die Presse, 19. August 1998, Seite 22, Robert Quitta

... Diese Cenerentola ist makellos. Sie bietet ausnahmsweise drei Stunden reines Glück. Da hiermit dem Kritisieren entsagt ist, bleibt nur noch das Berichterstatten: Es gab ein homogenes, stimmlich und gestisch feinst aufeinander abgestimmtes Ensemble ohne die geringste Schwachstelle, was bekanntlich nur alle heiligen Jahre einmal vorkommt, ein transparentes und präzises Orchester (des toskanischen Radios) unter dem bisher hauptsächlich an der Met tätigen Carlo Rizzi (als Rossini-Dirigent eine wirkliche Entdeckung) - und vor allem die über alle Massen wunderbare Vesselina Kasarova als Angelina/Cenerentola. Mit ihrer süchtig machenden Stimme, ihrem beseelt intensivem Spiel, ihrer Mischung aus absoluter Schlichtheit und totaler Sicherheit hat sie sich an diesem Abend als würdige Rollen-Nachfolgerin der beliebten, allzufrüh verstorbenen Lucia Valentini-Terrani (der sie teilweise sowohl physiognomisch als auch in den tiefen Lagen auf gespenstische Art und Weise gleicht - als ob der Geist der Verschiedenen in sie gefahren wäre). Sie wird ohne jeden Zweifel die Cenerentola der nächsten Jahre. ...

© Opernglas, Oktober 1998, Seite 27 - 28, Markus Wilks

Und wieder gelang es Vesselina Kasarova, ein Premierenpublikum zu verzaubern. Diesmal verdiente sie sich die Ovationen in Pesaro, wo sie beim Rossini-Festival und in der Rolle der Cenerentola debütierte. Einen ganzen Abend lang waren bei vorbildlicher technischer Sicherheit nahezu perfekt intonierte Töne zu hören. Und auch szenisch wusste Frau Kasarova zu gefallen, selbst wenn ihre Rollenkonzeption und -verkörperung zumindest Anlass zu Geschmacksdiskussionen geben dürften. Denn ihre Cenerentola ist kein naiv-unschuldiges Mädchen, das beim ungewohnten Anblick eines attraktiven Mannes prompt in Verzückung gerät. Dazu tönt ihr tiefes Register viel zu sinnlich aufregend, strahlt sie zuviel Persönlichkeit aus. Auch tritt Vesselina Kasarova nicht in die Fussstapfen etwa einer Cecilia Bartoli, deren Cenerentola durch Lebensfreude, ansteckende Fröhlichkeit und Verspieltheit charakterisiert ist. Angelina scheint vielmehr melancholisch veranlagt zu sein: Obwohl sie von Don Magnifico und den Stiefschwestern ständig gedemütigt wird, hat sie sich an ihre Lebenssituation gewöhnt, sie sogar verinnerlicht. Deshalb flüchtet sie sich unmittelbar vor der Hochzeitsfeier und dem Schritt in ein gerechtes, besseres Leben noch ein letztes Mal in ihre vertraute Arbeitsecke am Kamin, um mit unsicheren Gefühlen Abschied von einem Lebensabschnitt zu nehmen. Auch wenn Vesselina Kasarova szenisch noch etwas zaghaft blieb, reihte sie sich mit ihrem Rollendebüt auf Anhieb in die Reihe der bedeutenden Cenerentolas ein. Und das gerade im Festivaldurchgang 1998, der der vor kurzem verstorbenen Lucia Valentini-Terrani gewidmet war - eine Fotoausstellung "Cara Lucia" zollte der Rossini-Spezialistin Tribut. ...

© Opernwelt, November 1998, Seite 43, Dieter David Scholz

... Neben Alessandro Corbelli, der einen virilen Dandini sang und Bruno Praticó als köstlichem und gut bei Stimme befindlichen Erzkomödianten in der dankbaren Partie des Don Magnifico war der Star des Abends die in Italien noch ziemlich unbekannte Mezzosopranistin Vesselina Kasarova, die - bereits im sechsten Monat schwanger - als hochvirtuose wie stimmächtige Cenerentola bestach, mit dunkler Tiefe und äusserst beweglicher Höhe. ...

© orpheus, November 1998 + Festival-Report ‘98, Seite 74, Bernd Hoppe

Der unvergessenen Lucia Valentini-Terrani, die im Juni ihrer schweren Krankheit erlag, war das diesjährige Festival gewidmet; und eine Foto-Ausstellung im Foyer des Teatro Rossini dokumentierte die zahlreichen Auftritte der Sängerin in den 80er und 90er Jahren in der Geburtsstadt des Komponisten. Eine ihrer Glanzrollen war die Cenerentola; und so schien es naheliegend, das Festival mit einer Neuinszenierung des Dramma giocoso zu eröffnen, zumal mit Vesselina Kasarova eine der führenden Rossini-Interpretinnen zur Verfügung stand. Die internationale Opernszene kann sich glücklich schätzen, in der bulgarischen Mezzosopranistin eine würdige Nachfolgerin der Valentini gefunden zu haben, der eine ganz eigenständige und - wie stets bei dieser Künstlerin - individuelle Interpretation der Figur gelang. In der Erscheinung von schlichter Würde und im Spiel von so bezaubernder Anmut wie natürlichem Charme, war es auch die Stimme, die die Skala von der Kontraalt-Tiefe bis zur exponierten Höhe in mühelosem Fluss durchmass und das fachmännische Publikum zu Beifallsstürmen hinriss. Die akrobatische Leichtigkeit der wie mit einem zarten Pinsel getupften Koloraturen, die Eleganz der Phrasierung sowie die Expressivität des Gesanges von delikatesten Nuancen und empfindsamsten Tönen bis zur energischen Gebärde und absolut souveränem Vortrag der phantasievollen Verzierungen ergaben ein musikalisches Porträt, das bereits bei diesem Rollendebüt der Vollendung nahe kam. ...


Gioacchino Rossini
LA CENERENTOLA - Angelina
London / Royal Opera House Covent Garden / Januar 2003

© Evening Standard, 9. Januar 2003, Seite 55, Brian Hunt

Nothing in life, or art, is ever perfect. Except, possibly, the singing of Vesselina Kasarova in the title role of Rossini's La Cenerentola - at least on the first night of this Covent Garden revival. ... Kasarova, the Bulgarian mezzo now in her prime, is perfect casting as Cinders. The sultry beauty of her voice, its dignity even when going through the coloratura hoops, the melancholic dying falls she specialises in, all win immediate admiration and sympathy. ... The act I duet between Kasarova and Flórez is ravishing. ...

© The Times, 10. Januar 2003, Seite 21, Robert Thicknesse

... It is left to the singers to put some soul into a work that is rather more than carefree comedy, and this is a gorgeously matched pair of leads. Vesselina Kasarova, mezzo of the moment - a Bartoli without the heavy breathing - has the lightest of touches in Cinderella's increasingly flowery coloratura, a chocolatey lower range, an appropriately sweet stage presence and a magical way of lightening her tone. Her two renditions of her sad little fireside ditty, one hopeless and one in dreamy postball rapture, are a masterclass in the subtle art that reveals the point of Rossini's opera, to wit the transforming power of music. ...

© The Sunday Telegraph, 12. Januar 2003, Seite Review 9, Malcolm Hayes

Kasarova's quiet opening phrase instantly revealed her star quality

The Royal Opera House has a winner on its hands in Moshes Leiser's and Patrice Caurier's staging of Rossini's La Cenerentola. When this was new three seasons ago, it gave a lot of pleasure, but it didn't seem like a production that would work well on different casts. Yet it does indeed have this quality, as this revival shows.

At its heart is Vesselina Kasarova's top-flight performance in the title role. Up went the curtain on Emma Dogliani's Clorinda and Leah-Marian Jones's Tisbe, each chattering away at their formica chairs and table, while Cenerentola's drudgery at the "fireside" here means that she's cleaning a radiator. Then Kasarova's way with her quiet opening phrase "Una volta c'era un re" ("Once upon a time there was a king"), dark-toned and ultra-vivid, instantly revealed her star quality.

The character she portrayed, too, was just as striking, and was evidently used to coping with her family's noxious behaviour by deploying a resilient brand of attack as the best form of defense. Her insistence on singing "Una volta c'era un re" again was here designed, successfully, to wind her half-sisters up. ... Kasarova's sparkling and apparently effortless coloratura skills were in good company.

Gioacchino Rossini
LA CENERENTOLA - Angelina
Chicago / Lyric Opera of Chicago / Oktober 2005

© Chicago Sun-Timer / 7. Oktober 2005 / Wynne Delacoma

You could almost hear the sighs of contentment spreading through the Civic Opera House.
There was Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova, a blond beauty of astonishingly smoky vocal depths and glittering heights, sweeping the hearth and looking fetching as the lowly Cinderella character in Rossini's "La Cenerentola." As Don Ramiro, her Prince Charming, Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez combined Andy Garcia good looks with a stirring, fresh voice as open and soaring as any of the Three Tenors in their prime.

With a sprightly supporting cast, Lyric Opera of Chicago's revival Wednesday of Rossini's frothy yet psychologically telling version of the Cinderella fairy tale was a night at the opera to savor.
Rossini's comic operas, the ever-popular "The Barber of Seville'' and "The Italian Girl in Algiers'' among them, are much more than the sum of their dizzying, high-speed arias and farcical situations. Writing in the early 19th century, Rossini had a keen eye for the cultural shifts that would eventually destroy the old aristocratic order. "La Cenerentola'' was a solid success at its premiere in 1817, and Lyric's production, directed and designed by the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle and first seen at Lyric in 1976, is a bracing combination of silliness, satire and surprisingly astute social commentary.
Grischa Asagaroff, director of the Zurich Opera House and a close associate of Ponnelle's, directed this revival with a deft hand. Created 30-some years ago and last seen in Lyric's 1983-84 season, this "La Cenerentola'' could be showing its age. But those durable Rossini specialties -- the gusty rainstorms, the ensembles that hurl singers into frantic, tongue-twisting outpourings, the flummoxed grandees -- were livelier than ever. At times in the hyper-fast ensembles, the singers were pressed to match the pace set by Italian conductor Bruno Campanella. But in general, Lyric's terrific cast, Ponnelle's sets with their look of a child's pop-up greeting card and Rossini's ebullient score added up to an operatic dream.

Lyric audiences have enjoyed Kasarov's portrayals of noble young men, including Romeo in Bellini's "I Capuleti e i Montecchi,'' but her Cinderella was a revelation. With its innate authority, her dark, penetrating mezzo-soprano gave the fairy tale Cinderella a profound depth of heart. This was not simply an oppressed young beauty pining for a handsome prince. Kasarova's Cenerentola was a thoughtful young woman truly troubled by the disdain that her cruel stepfather and arrogant sisters feel for the poor. When she appeared at the ball in sumptuous black velvet and diamonds, she had the regal yet gracious bearing of a princess indeed worthy of respect. ...

OPERA REVIEW
'LA CENERENTOLA'
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

© Chicago Tribune / 7. Oktober 2005 / John von Rhein

Lyric's duo a dream

Kasarova and Florez emerge as dynamic team in `Cenerentola' revival

Rossini's "La Cenerentola" takes an awfully long time to get to the good stuff, the vocal somersaults and high-wire acrobatics that send lovers of bel-canto singing into feeding frenzies. Before the tenor and mezzo are able to sing their brilliant and fiendishly difficult showpieces, you have to wade through a protracted parade of comic shtick involving a greedy stepfather, silly stepsisters and various characters in disguise.

Just when you begin wondering whether it was worth the wait, Vesselina Kasarova and Juan Diego Florez, as the opera's cute-as-buttons romantic leads, step to the footlights to loft Rossini's ornate vocal lines to the glittering heavens, and you're glad to be spending more than three hours with this Cinderella story.

Lyric Opera's revival of "Cenerentola," which opened Wednesday at the Civic Opera House, marked the third time around here for Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's production, which is now 36 years old but hardly looks it. As restaged by Grischa Asagaroff, the durable show still hath charms, earning its laughs in all the right places without having to milk the sight gags.

Even by the high standards of present-day Rossini singing, Florez in his long-awaited company debut as Don Ramiro, and Kasarova as the scullery-maid-turned-princess Angelina, made a dream duo at Wednesday's opening. ...

What Kasarova shares with Florez is a natural charisma that keeps one riveted whenever she's singing. The exotic Bulgarian mezzo wielded a voice of molten gold, with a rock-solid technique that allows her to glide up from a rich chest voice to a gleaming upper extension. Her Cinderella may be more knowing than demure from the outset, but this is a minor quibble in the face of such a compelling vocal characterization.

© The Daily Herald, 7. Oktober 2005, Bill Gowen

A ‘Cinderella' with a comedic twist

Don't expect to see a Walt Disney version of "Cinderella" if you attend Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of "La Cenerentola" ("Cinderella"), which opened Wednesday night. No fairy godmother, no magic glass slipper - just plain operatic fun, a sprightly comedy from the pen of the early 19th-century Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. Other than a peripheral resemblance to the traditional story, this "Cinderella" owes more to the comedic opera buffa style of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" and "Cosi fan tutte" than the 1950 Disney film version or Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical.

The Lyric has brought back the classic production designed by the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, which was last seen here in 1983. Ponnelle's delicate "doll-house" sets have remained as fresh as ever over the years. Returning to the Lyric as stage director from its 1976 and 1983 productions is longtime Ponnelle associate Grischa Asagaroff, and Italian conductor Bruno Campanelli keeps the Lyric Opera Orchestra on its toes throughout the evening.

The cast is magnificent. First and foremost, the Lyric delivers a Cinderella (her real name in the opera is Angelina) for the ages with Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova. ...

The Lyric's "La Cenerentola" presents great solo and ensemble singing and acting, all tied together in an underrated Italian masterpiece. Enjoy!