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La Cucina/Adina

“Witty and accomplished”

Irish composer Andrew Synnott’s La Cucina (The Kitchen) makes its world premiere on Wexford’s main stage, with a libretto by the event’s artistic director designate Rosetta Cucchi, who takes up her post next season.

This one-act divertissement is set in the fraught kitchen where an upmarket wedding cake is being made, with temperamental chef Alberto (actor Luca Nucera), having suffered a high-profile baking disaster in the past, throwing tantrums.

It’s a lightweight piece that serves as an upbeat to the second half of the evening, when the cake – suitably enlarged – becomes the set for Rossini’s 1826 farce Adina, which aptly ends with a wedding.

Synnott’s score is marvellous – a witty and accomplished piece of writing that owes something to Puccini (admittedly a rather outdated influence), and which is unfailingly entertaining, as is Cucchi’s production.

Her touch is rather heavier in the second half, where an overbusy staging gets in the way of a slight score by Rossini that is well sung by the cast – many of whom take part in both operas.

The second piece, Adina is something of a frippery, unlikely to gain a place in the repertoire after nearly 200 years of neglect, but worth at least one encounter. Shining in the leading roles of this multicultural romp are fluent soprano Rachel Kelly (Adina), agile tenor Levy Sekgapane (Selimo) and patrician Daniele Antonangeli (the Caliph).

It passes 80 minutes perfectly pleasantly: but of the two it’s Synnott’s score that is the more memorable. In both instances, conductor Michele Spotti keeps things nicely on the move.

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Production Details
Production nameLa Cucina/Adina
VenueNational Opera House
StartsOctober 24, 2019
EndsNovember 3, 2019
Running time2hrs 25mins
ComposerAndrew Synnott, Gioachino Rossini
DirectorRosetta Cucchi
ConductorMichele Spotti
Set designerTiziano Santi
Costume designerClaudia Pernigotti
Lighting designerSimon Corder
CastDaniele Antonangeli, Emmanuel Franco, Levy Sekgapane, Luca Nucera, Manuel Amati, Máire Flavin, Rachel Kelly, Sheldon Baxter
Stage managerColin Murphy
ProducerPesaro, Rossini Festival, Wexford Festival
VerdictAndrew Synnott’s witty new opera makes a highly positive impression in this comedy double-bill
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George Hall

George Hall

George Hall

George Hall

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