A Whole New Take on Cinderella

Rossini’s take on Cinderella offers a riotous musical ride.
Brangien Davis  |   January 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
cinderella houston grand opera
Our heroine is pulled asunder by wicked stepsisters in the Italian take on Cinderella at the Seattle Opera (image from the Houston Grand Opera production)

To be clear: This is not the Disney-fied version of Cinderella. There are no glass slippers, no mouse-drawn coaches, no fairy godmother or evil stepmother—Cinderella isn’t even our heroine’s name; she’s called Angelina. But the differences in Gioachino Rossini’s operatic take, La Cenerentola, are all the more reason to see it. First performed in Rome in 1817, the opera arrived on the heels of Rossini’s rollicking and well-received The Barber of Seville. As in the earlier opera, Rossini (“the Italian Mozart”) imbued the score of La Cenerentola with considerable humor and verve, echoed perfectly by the outrageous, colorful costumes and set borrowed from the Houston Grand Opera’s production (pictured above). Bonus: Cinderella’s character here is awarded a great deal more depth—she’s a stronger, more thoughtful and self-assured woman who knows that clothes and beauty can only take a princess so far. The breathless, boisterous tale combines both comedic antics and a sweeping love story to marvelous, magical effect.

1/12–1/26. Times vary. $25–$215. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St.; 206.389.7676; seattleopera.org