Opera Company of Middlebury 16th Season includes Massenet's CENDRILLON

Opera Company of Middlebury 16th Season includes Massenet's CENDRILLON

There have been many versions on the Cinderella story over the years, with everyone from Rossini to Walt Disney creating their own version of the tale. A rarely heard take on Cinderella is by French composer Jules Massenet. His Cendrillon, which debuted in 1899, will be presented by Opera Company of Middlebury from May 31-June 8 at Middlebury's Town Hall Theater.

Jules Massenet was far and away the most successful opera composer in late-19th century France, with over 30 successful operas to his credit. By 1905, his opera Manon had been staged 500 times at the Palais Garnier in Paris. He had similar success with Le Cid, Werther, ThaÏs and many more.

Director Douglas Anderson believes that Cendrillon is the most beautiful version of the popular tale. "Massenet was popular because he wrote the most beautiful music for the theater. This music is sumptuous and romantic - it pretty much sweeps you off your feet, which is just right for a love story." The OCM orchestra, under the direction of Principal Guest Conductor Michael Sakir, is made up of the best musicians in Vermont, several of whom have played for OCM for many years.

OCM casts professional singers from across the country, many of whom return regularly to perform here. Soprano Cree Carrico, who was so impressive last season as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, returns to play the role of the fairy godmother, La Fée. Vermont favorite Erik Kroncke will play the King, and the leading roles will be played by two singers making their OCM debuts, Lindsay Ohse and John Riesen. "This is an incredibly strong cast," says Anderson. "We're always thrilled with the high caliber of talent that wants to sing here."

Anderson comments that the Cinderella story can use a little updating. "'Someday my prince will come'...well, that's no longer the dream of young women. We're interested in filling in the blanks, finding out what Cinderella loves, what makes her an interesting, vibrant human being. I've been saying that in our production the Prince won't fall for the most beautiful woman in the room but rather the most interesting person in the room. That would be a fable for our times."

Cendrillon will be performed four times at Middlebury's Town Hall Theater, on May 31, June 6 and 8 at 7:30 PM, and June 2 at 2:00 pm. For tickets, go to www.townhalltheater.org.



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