PR stills for CU Opera production of Cinderella. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

Author: Sabine Kortals

Eklund Opera stages “Cinderella”

Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” a story of transcendence, Oct. 23-25.

“La Cenerentola,” Gioachino Rossini’s beloved two-act opera, continues CU Presents’ 2015-16 season at Macky Auditorium on the University of Colorado Boulder campus, Oct. 23-24.

Equal parts humor, tenderness and philosophical exploration, Rossini’s enduring classic has something for everyone. “Right from the start, ‘Cinderella’ was a hit with audiences,” says Leigh Holman, Director of the Eklund Opera Program at the CU-Boulder College of Music. “It’s hilarious, truly a comedy. But unlike the Disney version, it’s also more grounded and realistic.

“There’s no glass shoe or fairy godmother. Instead, the opera brings to life all the warmth of goodness and love.” Indeed, “Cinderella” features some of Rossini’s grandest writing for solo voice and vocal ensembles.

Set at the turn of the 20th century, Holman describes this production as a “relatively traditional” rendering of the story of a scullery maid, featuring atour de forcefor mezzo-soprano.

Make that three mezzo-sopranos. “We have so many great mezzos that we opted to triple cast the part of ‘Cinderella.’ Each of the three performances will spotlight a different mezzo in the title role,” explains Holman. “Angelina” will be performed by graduate students Taylor Raven, Rebecca Robinson and Christina Adams opposite tenor Max Hosmer as “Ramiro.” Hosmer is currently pursuing post-graduate work, and studies with both Patrick Mason and Matthew Chellis. Note: CU-Boulder Assistant Professor of Voice Matthew Chellis will appear as “Don Ramiro” in Saturday’s performance, only.

“What I enjoy most about this opera are its pervasive themes of character development,” continues Holman. “‘Cinderella’ is neglected and oppressed by an abusive father, but she learns to let that go. Because of the glorious love she’s found, forgiveness grows before regret and resentment take root. It’s a story of transcendence.” The libretto for “Cinderella” was written by Jacopo Ferretti, based on the fairy tale “Cendrillon” by Charles Perrault.

This production of “Cinderella” is directed by Bill Fabris, a stage director and choreographer who enjoys a growing national reputation for his innovative and entertaining interpretations. Equally at home in the worlds of opera and musical theater, he recently directed “Le nozze di Figaro” and “Carousel” for the Shreveport Opera. His production of Jules Massenet’s “Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame” won critical acclaim at Opera Boston, where he later returned to direct “Candide.”

A 30-minute, pre-concert lecture and Q&A by College of Music Associate Professor and Opera Music Director Nicholas Carthy will be held at the Macky Auditorium Loge one hour before curtain time. Born in England, Carthy studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London with Mary Peppin and John York, and in 1981 won an Austrian government scholarship to study at the Mozarteum Salzburg with Hans Leygraf. Currently, in addition to his position at the CU-Boulder College of Music, he’s Music Director of the Portland State University Summer Programme, and a visiting tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, United Kingdom. A sought-after music educator, Carthy regularly presents master classes in opera schools and conservatories throughout the United States and Europe.

Tickets for “Cinderella” start at $15.

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