McNeese, Belcher and Hernandez Give a “Rollicking Fun” Cenerentola in Omaha

“Opera Omaha’s production certainly features a formidable ensemble, made up of winning singers who engage in courtly intrigue and a farce of mistaken identity that is glorious, wonderful and often rollicking fun. . . Mezzo soprano Lauren McNeese was vibrant as the heroine. She played the role with spirited grit, portraying a Cinderella in control of her own life — not an easy task given that it’s the men who set the action in motion. While the men may get the ball rolling, McNeese presented Angelina as the one in command — especially when she demands a man who can offer her love, kindness and respect instead of mere wealth. . .she displayed a technically impressive voice, making trills and leaps that thrilled with sparkling intensity. . . Baritone Daniel Belcher was fabulous as Ramiro’s servant Dandini, who pretended to be the prince so his master could covertly find a bride motivated by love rather than riches. He was a foppishly delightful dandy, who pranced and preened to guffaw-worthy comic effect with facial expressions and mannerisms that said as much as his wonderful singing. His rich voice was in finely fluid form during the difficult “Come un’ape,” when he compares a young man seeking a pretty maiden to being like a bee in April flitting from blossom to blossom. . . As Don Magnifico, Cinderella’s conniving stepfather, baritoneLevi Hernandez was a perfect combination of oafish selfishness, comical pomposity and oblivious boorishness. He has a gorgeous timber, effortlessly executing those lightning quick divisions with deceptive ease. Hernandez also played the starring role in one of the evening’s highlights when Don Magnifico drunkenly commandeered the wine cellar, showcasing his character’s ludicrous pretentiousness in a wonderfully funny sequence.” -Omaha World Herald

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