Lost Twin Brothers continued — Jim Relyea

Today I have been watching La Cenerentola, more specifically, Alidoro’s aria, “Là del ciel nell’arcano profondo.”

For me, John Relyea makes an almost perfect Alidoro.

Alidoro is prince Ramiro’s counsellor and mentor, and probably, his private teacher. In the opera, Alidoro pretends to be a beggar at first, and — of course — only Cinderella/Cenerentola shows kindness towards him. She is rewarded soon after, when Alidoro reveals to her, at least in parts, whom he really is. He always made me think more than a bit of Gandalf, who for the Hobbiton folk is a wizard, maybe, but more noticeable for his fireworks. Whatever Alidoro is — it is within his power to provide the dress and the coach for Cenerentola so she can attend the prince’s party.

So he is a fairy god-mother, a teacher, a wizard, a sage — all rolled into one! A bugger of a role to play and sing well, if you ask me. John Relyea makes a marvellous Alidoro — first and most important vocally, of course — but even in his appearance, a bit bookish, always keeping a bit of a distance; I am especially fond of the moment when he unfolds his wings. I like the idea — they are tiny, he is not quite an angel, but close; he might not be able to fly with them, they are too small. He sets of Cenerentola to the party though, enabling her to spread her wings instead, and sounding absolutely content in the aria about it.

I love Alidoro. He is fatherly, or everything a father should be. The aria, if sung well, never fails to move me almost to tears when I watch the opera live.

But another thing, concerning this specific rendition:  The moment he changes — doesn’t Relyea look like Jim Carrey? More than just a bit?

He even looks better in historic outfits, but then, Carrey is the master when it comes to concealing his natural handsomeness.

Which brings me to the last picture, which, sadly, I was unable to find a matching Relyea one for 😉

A charming short interview, revealing Relyea’s reluctance to wear tights, his fondness of Jimi Hendrix, as well as a few other astounding facts can be found here.

Gioachino Rossini — La Cenerentola
libretto: Jacopo Ferretti

Alidoro
No! Sublima il pensiero!
Tutto cangiò per te!
Calpesterai men che fango i tesori,
Rapirai tutti i cuori.
Vien meco e non temer: per te dall’Alto
M’ispira un Nume a cui non crolla il trono.
E se dubiti ancor, mira chi sono!

Nel momento che si volge, Alidoro getta il manto.

Là del ciel nell’arcano profondo,
Del poter sull’altissimo Trono
Veglia un Nume, signore del mondo,
Al cui piè basso mormora il tuono.
Tutto sa, tutto vede, e non lascia
Nell’ambascia perir la bontà.

Fra la cenere, il pianto, l’affanno,
Ei ti vede, o fanciulla innocente,
E cangiando il tuo stato tiranno,
Fra l’orror vibra un lampo innocente.
Non temer, si è cambiata la scena:
La tua pena cangiando già va.

S’ode avvicinarsi una carrozza.

Un crescente mormorio
Non ti sembra d’ascoltar?..
Ah sta’ lieta: è il cocchio mio
Su cui voli a trionfar.

Tu mi guardi, ti confondi…
Ehi ragazza, non rispondi?!
Sconcertata è la tua testa
E rimbalza qua e là,
Come nave in gran tempesta
Che di sotto in su sen va.

Ma già il nembo è terminato,
Scintillò serenità.
Il destino s’è cangiato,
L’innocenza brillerà.

Italian libretto from Stanford University.

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