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A story that makes you forget the dark realities of life and causes you to believe in dreams, an age old tale of magic and romance, a legend that has transcended time and age, Cendrillon is here to entertain you yet again.
Cendrillon is a four act opera that was composed by Jules Massenet and written by Henri Cain. It is based on the 1698 version of the fairy tale, Cinderella written by Perrault. Massenet, one of the greatest composers of his time, started working on this opera in 1894. It took him almost a year to complete it, but once he did, he declared it to be his final lyrical work.
The plot of Cendrillon revolves around a poor girl who falls in love with the Prince Charming. In the first act, Madame de la Haltière and her two daughters are getting ready for the ball which is to be hosted by the Prince. They are the stepmother and stepsisters of Lucette (also known as Cendrillon. Cendrillon wants to go to the ball too but she stays at home and completes the household chores. When she falls asleep by the hearth, she is visited by the Fairy Godmother and her helpers who provide her with beautiful clothes and glass slippers and send her off to the ball with the warning that the magic spell would break at midnight.
The second act presents the scene of the ball where everyone is happy and excited except for the prince who has been asked by the king to choose a wife. The prince shows disinterest until Cendrillon enters. They fall in love with each other at first sight but she leaves the prince at midnight. In the third act, Cendrillon returns home to find one of her glass slippers missing. The magic spell is broken. Cendrillon is heartbroken and runs off to commit suicide. She enters the forest where she and the prince are brought together by the fairies. They sing songs of love and then fall asleep together. In the last act, when Cendrillon wakes up, she finds herself at home, beside her father who has heard her sleep-talk about the prince and the slipper. Madame enters the scene with the news of the royal herald to try on the glass shoe. The opera comes to a close when the prince recognizes Cendrillon and they are united.
Cendrillon premiered at the Opéra-Comique which is situated in Paris in May 1899. At that time Massenet was at the pinnacle of his success and therefore, the opera received a great reception and was labeled a resounding triumph. In its very first season, it put forth fifty shows. The vibe was picked up by other countries and the opera was performed at Brussels and various Italian cities including Milan that same year. It came to the USA in 1911 where it was first performed in Chicago and later in New York. Its premier in the UK took place in 1939 in Swindon. Massenet’s operatic style became outdated for some time but it was revived in the mid of 1970s. Cendrillon was staged in Liege and Brussels in the year 1982 and then in Geneva in 1998. It was performed in Strasbourg in the year 2003. Three years later, it was produced by Laurent Pelly at the Santa Fe Opera where the main cast included Joyce DiDonato and Eglise Gutiérrez. From then on, the opera was performed with a frequent regularity each year. In 2007, it was performed in the Belgian cities of Luxembourg and Brussels. In 2008, it was staged in New York, in 2010 in Montreal, Brisbane and Dresden. Earlier this year, it was presented in Vancouver. Opéra-Comique saw its comeback in March 2011 and Royal Opera House in London in the summer of 2011. Towards the end of 2011, the operatic show will be presented in Opera Bastille in Paris.
Cendrillon consists of a repertoire of songs that present a variety of emotions in the wittiest and most gallant way. Ballets, arpeggios and trills along with numerous styles of orchestrations make this opera a delight to watch. The story is timeless and the music is fabulous so there is no reason for you not to buy the Cendrillon tickets. Get them and use them to witness one of the greatest operatic works of all times.
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