"...three delightful hours of enthralling entertainment": Orpha Phelan's La Cenerentola captivates critics

13 November 2019

In a return to her native Ireland, Orpha Phelan's production of La Cenerentola has received stunning reviews in her successful debut at Irish National Opera:

“Orpha Phelan directed an outstanding cast in a beautiful and imaginative staging of the Cinderella story to produce three delightful hours of enthralling entertainment at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin… Excellent as the cast were, the wow factor was the staging that drew the audience into a fantasy world of books.”
Cathy Desmond, The Irish Examiner

“Rossini’s operatic version has no glass slippers or fairy godmother, but this production, directed by Orpha Phelan, brings together the mix of comedy and tragedy with a light touch, and those early fairy-tale appearances recur to great effect and with youthful involvement.”
David Byers, The Irish Times*****

“The staging and production values here were fabulous and totally irresistible… Rossini had a gift for comic confusion and director Orpha Phelan captured that aspect outstandingly well… overall, a triumph – and an important one for INO.”
Dick O'Riordan, The Sunday Business Post

“Phelan’s mischievous, glowing and superbly child-like interpretation of the piece…”
Emer O'Kelly, Sunday Independent (Ireland)

“Orpha Phelan introduces her sturdy directorial concept during the overture: characters from fairy tales come to life… The big choral set pieces are wonderfully shaped by Phelan, with characters from all sorts of fairy tales capering about… This big-hearted show gets the big design it deserves”
Katy Hayes, Irish Independent

“Throughout, stories, storybooks, and storytelling loom large as Phelan crafts some compositionally brilliant scenes, with the assistance of some famous fairytale cameos, fashioning a series of lively, interlinked chapters out of Rossini’s exuberant score and Ferretti’s humorous libretto… Under Phelan’s masterful direction, Rossini’s vocally demanding opera is sumptuously and vibrantly realised, with Phelan eliciting some outstanding performances from her chorus and soloists… At a time when many famous stories find themselves being politically reimagined, Phelan remains true to Rossini’s larger than life tale and allows it to simply tell itself. Making the experience far more entertaining, and politically illuminating, for doing so… Irish National Opera’s "Cinderella/La Cenerentola" is utterly, utterly glorious.”
Chris O'Rourke, The Arts Review*****

"Director Orpha Phelan's conception of the opera was in general as light-hearted as Rossini intended, though the darker elements of the story were also flagged.”
Andrew Larkin, Bachtrack

You can watch the trailer here, and read a recent interview with Orpha on her career and La Cenerentola here. Performances run in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin this week.

Photo credit: Patrick Redmond

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