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Rita Kohn
Opera
Performance Reviews
Musical Arts Center - Indiana University
United States
Indiana
Bloomington, IN
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Indiana University Opera Theater's Cendrillon a Triumph

by Rita Kohn
November 8, 2012
Musical Arts Center - Indiana University
101 North Jordan Ave
Bloomington, IN 47406
(812) 855-7433
This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
IU Opera's production of Jules Massenet's opera Cendrillon [Cinderella] glowed with a special brilliance in memory of the 100th anniversary of the composer's death in 1912.

One of twelve other operas based on the story of Cinderella, this work with music by Massenet and libretto by Henri Cain is particularly noted for its layers of emotional depth and exploration of dreams and reality.

Ronald Zollman conducted with a meticulous sense of tempo—not too rushed yet proceeding with purpose to a conclusion that left one smiling and wistful.

Equally unified with the gifted stage direction by Albert-Andre Lheureux were the picture book pop-up tableaux and luxurious costumes by C. David Higgins and the spot-on lighting by Julie Duro.

Deftly navigating between humor, slapstick, pathos and joy, Lheureux allowed the large cast of characters to reveal themselves as a microcosm of the real world in a fairy tale setting.

Everyone has a hand in mediating the duo truisms: "Nothing is Impossible and Dreams can become Reality."

The story unfolds as sound bytes, yet it's never kitch. It seems quite natural for Cendrillon, whose true name is Lucette, to buck herself up with a belief in dreams. Yet it is through her innate kindness towards others that we recognize a stolid character to make a dream a reality, to make love enduring. And yet we accept the Stepmother has her dreams too — though we don't want to admit to sharing them since hers are for "position, distinction and ambition for the throne and all its powers."

Wishing he had not opted for ambition himself was Lucette's father, who could not stand up to the "new" wife he married to gain position, and laments his own daughter being ill-treated because of his choice. So there's much to chew on here at a time when Massenet and Cain inspire us to examine our personal motives and sense of who we are and why we make certain choices.

Delivering the music and story superbly were players in the pit, and a cast on stage whose singing, acting and dancing, were nothing short of superb.
Eileen Jennings as Madame de la Haltière in IU Opera's 'Cendrillon'. Photo courtesy of IU Opera Theater.

Eileen Jennings as Madame de la Haltière in IU Opera's "Cendrillon". Photo courtesy of IU Opera Theater.


Alyssa Martin as Lucette (Cendrillon) and Angela Yoon as La Fée (Fairy Godmother) in IU Opera's 'Cendrillon'. Photo courtesy of IU Opera Theater.

Alyssa Martin as Lucette (Cendrillon) and Angela Yoon as La Fée (Fairy Godmother) in IU Opera's "Cendrillon". Photo courtesy of IU Opera Theater.

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