03.29.14_Cendrillon Classic Fairy Tale Comes to CSU: Cinderella (Cendrillon) by Jules MassenetImage of

Classic Fairy Tale Comes to CSU: Cinderella (Cendrillon) by Jules Massenet

Cinderella smallBy Emma Schenkenberger

The Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center at Colorado State University presents the enchanting fairy tale of Cinderella in performances of Jules Massenet’s French opera, Cendrillon, on March 29, April 4, and April 5, 7:30 p.m. & March 30, 2 p.m. in the Griffin Concert Hall at the University Center for the Arts, located at 1400 Remington St.

Tickets are $10 for CSU students, $1 for youth (under 18), and $20 for the public. Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts (UCA) ticket office in the UCA lobby, by phone at 970-491-ARTS (2787) or online at CSUArtsTickets.com. Youth tickets must be purchased in person at the Ticket Office. Advance purchase is recommended to avoid at-the-door fees.

Based on Perrault’s 1698 fairy tale, Massenet’s version will enthrall audiences, and is a wonderful introduction to the art form for younger audiences.

Caring only for the well-being of her daughters Noémie and Dorothée, Madame de la Haltière snubs her stepdaughter, Lucette (Cendrillon). As the three leave for the royal ball, Cendrillon wishes she could also have gone. But her Fairy Godmother suddenly appears, transforming Cendrillon’s ragged clothes into a magnificent gown for the ball, but warns the girl that the spell will only last until midnight, and that the glass slippers will protect her from being recognized by her family.

After aweing the prince at the ball, Cendrillon flees the palace as the clock strikes midnight, losing one of her glass slippers. After long searching, the lovers are finally reunited and acclaimed by all present, even Madame de la Haltière.

Previous to Cendrillon premiering on May 24, 1899, in Paris, the Italian opera La Cenerentola came out in 1817 based on the same fairytale. This version, written in Italian by Gioachino Rossini, did not follow the original story line in Perrault’s fairytale as closely as Massenet’s French rendition.

Massenet’s version received instant popularity, often attributed to his additions to the story, including the pumpkin, the fairy-godmother and the introduction of glass slippers. This inclusion of magical transformative elements is exemplified in CSU’s production of the opera.

“Both the music and the production are very beautiful with a variety of vocal colors and characters,” said director Tiffany Blake. “It’s very much the fairy tale we all know and love, and our production will really highlight those magical moments.”

CSU’s production, while not set in the traditional period, draws from several periods with whimsical costumes, gothic elements, magical transformations – all the elements of a wonderful fairy tale.

Anticipating the upcoming production, Charles Ralph noted his enthusiasm for the piece:

“Distinguished by its layers of emotional depth and exploration of dreams and reality, Cendrillon displays the composer’s musical sense of humor at its frothiest, liberally spiced with wit and elegance. This work presents a challenging opportunity for the students to create a cast of unique personalities that will engage and entertain while also encouraging us to consider which of the story personalities we are and why we make the choices we do.”

About the Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center

The Ralph Opera Center, housed at the state-of-the-art University Center for the Arts, is named in honor of Charles and Reta Ralph in recognition of their generous and continuing support of opera at Colorado State University. The Ralph’s benevolence provides programmatic support and professional development opportunities, as well as a broad scholarship support system for students studying vocal performance. Auditions for the Ralph Opera Center are held at the beginning of each semester and are open to all CSU students. Read more.

The Ralph Opera Center performs two fully staged productions with orchestra each semester, as well as multiple opera scenes programs, spanning the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras. Past presentations include: Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, Benjamin Brittin’s The Rape of Lucretia, Verdi’s Falstaff, Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Mozart’s Magic Flute, Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, Domenico Cimarosa’s Il segreto matrimonio, Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, and Gilbert & Sullivan’s Patience.

About Tiffany Blake

Praised by Opera News Online for her “…truly virtuoso performance….immaculate tone, good support and breath to spare.”, soprano, Dr. Tiffany Blake, received her DMA in Vocal Performance with a minor in Opera Stage Direction from the Eastman School of Music, where she also earned her MM and was awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. She received her BA from Sonoma State University in Northern California.  In 2009 Dr. Blake was one of twelve interns chosen from applicants across the U.S. and Canada to participate in the prestigious NATS Internship Program. Read More.

About Wes Kenney

The 2007 Grand Prize Winner of the Varna (Bulgaria) International Conducting Competition, Wes Kenney is now in his tenth season as Music Director of the Fort Collins (Colorado) Symphony. Named in 2004 to an additional post as Music Director of Opera Fort Collins, he currently conducts three professional operatic productions as well as numerous orchestra concerts and dance performances each season throughout Northern Colorado. Read more.

The University Center for the Arts at Colorado State University provides an enriched venue in which the study and practice of Art, Dance, Music and Theatre are nurtured and sustained by building the skills and knowledge needed by future generations of arts professionals to become contributors to the essential vitality of our culture and society. During the 2013-2014 season, the UCA celebrates its fifth anniversary and features several celebratory events that highlight connecting our campus and community with impactful arts.

For more information, visit UCA.Colostate.edu.