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IU Opera Theater presents ‘Cendrillon’ with French flair

WHAT: "Cendrillon" by Jules Massenet
WHEN: 7 p.m. Nov. 8; 8 p.m. Nov. 9 and 10; 2 p.m. Nov. 11
WHERE: Musical Arts Center, 101 N. Jordan Ave., IU Bloomington campus
TICKETS: Purchase tickets at the Musical Arts Center box office Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., by phone at (812) 855-7433 or online at music.indiana.edu/opera. A discounted price is available for all students.
VIDEO STREAMING: Nov. 9 and 10 only. Featuring live blogging by musicology students.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 31, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana University Opera Theater will present Jules Massenet's "Cendrillon (Cinderella)" with a French flair when it opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Musical Arts Center for one weekend only, ending with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 11.

Cendrillon 2012
From left to right: Angela Yoon (Fairy Godmother), Albert-André Lheureux (Stage Director), Alyssa Martin (Lucette-Cendrillon), and Sarah Ballman (Prince).
Print-Quality Photo

Based on the classic fairy tale by Charles Perrault, the work -- set in 18th-century France and sung in French with English supertitles -- will be led by award-winning Belgian guest stage director Albert-André Lheureux in his American debut, while fellow countryman Ronald Zollman will guest conduct.

"I never directed this work before, and it's a wonderful pleasure for me to give it a 'French touch' here in the States," said Lheureux, who has staged more than 70 dramatic productions, including 60 operas, in numerous countries. "'Cendrillon' is my American debut, and after just directing Massenet's 'Werther' in Estonia, this invitation from IU Opera was a perfect opportunity for me to discover this masterpiece. It is a sparkling work full of vibrant music, intelligence and sensitivity, in which drama alternates with humor. Never before had Massenet found such funny verve.

"The adaptation of Perrault's tale into a wonderful theatrical poem by librettist Henri Cain brings two different worlds together -- one made of wonder and enchantment, the other made of reality, with its psychological dimension. The audience may even question dream and reality, as Cendrillon and her father do."

Cendrillon VideoEnjoy an introduction to "Cendrillon" by stage director Albert-André Lheureux and music director Ronald Zollman.

Retired Jacobs professor C. David Higgins designed all new sets and costumes for the 2009 production, the last time it was performed by IU Opera Theater. The visually stunning show is complete with a horse-drawn pumpkin coach, a Fairy Godmother who flies onto the stage and scenery changes in view of the audience.

"This is my second time with Massenet's 'Cendrillon,'" said Zollman. "Preparing for these performances has been a wonderful experience: the score is so rich, so full of imagination and so stimulating for one's thoughts. Every encounter with it reveals new aspects, both on the musical level and regarding the psychology of the opera's protagonists. These are permanent rediscoveries for the curious performer, and it is proof that we are in the presence of a real masterwork!"

The first performance of "Cendrillon" was given at the Paris Opéra-Comique in 1899, at the height of Massenet's success. Following his usual practice, Massenet avoided opening night but received a telegram from one of the cast members the next day declaring it a triumph.

"A human life on this earth often looks like a labyrinth in which it is difficult to find a positive progression," said Lheureux. "Let's try, in particular through the example of 'Cendrillon,' to become more human and to more often turn towards those in pain. Because egoism contributes to nothing but a person's drying out."

The Nov. 9 and 10 performances of "Cendrillon" will be live-streamed via the IU Music Live! site.