For director Paula Homer, the opera Cendrillon — Jules Massenet’s treatment of Cinderella — can charm children and entrance adults. The light-hearted opera has all the stock characters from the famous fairy tale — mean stepsisters, a heartless stepmother, a fairy godmother and a charming prince.
The University of North Texas Opera Theatre stages the opera as a full production, from slapstick sight gags and jokes to the colorful score and libretto. Younger audience members will get the magical transformation of Cinderella from soot-smudged servant to princess bride in a gossamer gown. Music lovers and opera fans get Massenet’s shimmering music.
“This is the children’s fairy tale that we all know and love, but it is also a romantic love story with lush music, magical appearances and slapstick comedy so every age will be enchanted,” Homer said. “Everyone can be assured that the whole family will love this opera experience.”
The opera is suitable for new audiences. The plot is faithful to the fairy tale. Cinderella is cast aside when her father remarries, and is treated poorly by her new stepsisters and their mother. Her fairy godmother gives Cinderella a chance to attend a royal ball given in honor of a prince who is looking for a bride.
However, magic has its limits, and Cinderella might have to spend the rest of her days serving her ill-tempered family. But the slipper she left in flight from the palace might be a good-luck charm.
A bonus for audiences who love musical theater: Massenet’s music is theatrical and charming, illustrating the characters and plot alike.
The role of the prince is a “pants part,” meaning it is performed by a woman. For this production, two women split the role of the prince. UNT Opera Theatre has gathered eye-catching costumes and dreamy lighting design for the opera.
Stephen Dubberly, director of the opera orchestra, will conduct the orchestra for the performances.
— Lucinda Breeding
What: UNT Opera Theatre presents a light-hearted retelling of Charles Perrault’s Cinderella by Jules Massenet.
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Nov. 15, and 3 p.m. Sunday and Nov. 17. Music director Stephen Dubberly will lead an “In the Know” lecture 45 minutes before the opera.
Where: Lyric Theatre in the Murchison Performing Arts Center, 2100 S. Interstate 35E
Details: The opera is performed in French with English supertitles. Tickets cost $15 each, $35 for performance with wine and dessert. For reservations, call 940-369-7802 or visit www.thempac.com/tickets.