Los Angeles Opera wheeled into its final three performances of Rossini’s “Cinderella” Wednesday night with a new Cinderella toiling amid her cadre of lovable, helpful rats. She is the Georgian mezzo-soprano Ketevan Kemoklidze -- yet another winner of Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition to appear on the L.A. Opera stage (her debut), and also somewhat of a contrast to the previous Cinderella, Kate Lindsey.
This Cinderella registered a distinctive vocal presence with a Slavic accent (which lessened as the performance unfolded) and a large vibrato, but also a solid bottom end soaring to a lovely, exciting top that had little trouble being heard in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Kemoklidze sported a wider dramatic range than her predecessor, light on her feet and whimsical when playing with the rats, yet also able to express convincing anguish and pathos at the drop of a hat.
She brought something different to the role when appearing as the mysterious veiled beauty at the ball -- an imperiousness that suggested there was always a potential princess within Cinderella. And through that heavy vibrato, she displayed good control over the florid coloratura flights that Rossini threw at her in her final, formidable aria that closes Act II.