We begin our Introducing… Tour 2018 series by looking at this year’s new production of Massenet’s enchanting fairytale, Cinderella (Cendrillon).
Need to know
Sweet-natured Cendrillon lives the life of a servant with her cruel stepmother Madame de la Haltière, her stepsisters Noémie and Dorothée, and her downtrodden father Pandolfe. But, transformed for just one night into a mysterious beauty, she captures the Prince’s heart at the royal ball. Will she find a way to escape her domestic drudgery and be reunited with her beloved? With a little help from her Fairy Godmother, she just might.
Photo: James Bellorini
Comedy and near-tragedy are finely blended in Cendrillon in some of the most beautiful music Massenet ever wrote. His magical take on the familiar Cinderella story is a sensuous, Belle Epoque fairytale gilded with lavish orchestral textures and glittering, virtuosic vocal writing. This escapist musical fantasy draws on everything from 18th-century courtly dances to Wagner-inspired chromaticism to bring its story to vivid life, conjuring a world of infinite musical and emotional variety.
Why this opera?
Glyndebourne is delighted to welcome back actor-director Fiona Shaw to direct the company’s first-ever staging of this enchanting French opera. Shaw’s 2013 production of The Rape of Lucretia for Glyndebourne was a hit with both audience and critics, praised for its ‘supremely nuanced’, ‘clear-sighted’ and ‘complex’ approach. Shaw’s new production – a rare opportunity to see Cendrillon staged in the UK – is a celebration of the power of fantasy and imagination, probing the pastel-coloured surface of the familiar fairytale to reveal the darker human questions and truths beneath.
Fiona Shaw directing rehearsals of The Rape of Lucretia in 2015. Photo: James Bellorini
With its combination of enchanting love story and broad, burlesque comedy, Cendrillon sits alongside Rossini’s Cenerentola, Dvorak’s Rusalka and Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel as one of the great operatic fairytales – a Cinderella that looks back to Charles Perrault’s original story in all its richness and ambiguity.
Cast and creative team
Well-known to Glyndebourne Tour audiences from 2015’s Don Pasquale and 2017’s Hamlet, fast-rising British conductor Duncan Ward returns to conduct Cendrillon. He’s joined by an exciting young cast, many of whom are making both their UK and Glyndebourne debuts.
Eléonore Pancrazi performing at the semi final of the Glyndebourne Opera Cup 2018. Photo: Sam Stephenson
Glyndebourne Tour is renowned for championing new talent, a tradition which continues in the casting of Cendrillon. Taking the roles of Cendrillon and Le Prince Charmant are French mezzo-sopranos Alix Le Saux and Eléonore Pancrazi. Alix makes her Glyndebourne debut, while Eléonore returns after competing as a finalist in the inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup.
The part of The Fairy – Cendrillon’s fairy godmother – is rapidly becoming a signature role for coloratura soprano Caroline Wettergreen, whose previous performances in the role have been hailed as ‘absolutely effortless’ and ‘immaculate’.
Glyndebourne-regular William Dazeley and veteran Polish mezzo Agnes Zwierko play Cendrillon’s father and stepmother, with British mezzo Kezia Bienek, who started out in the Glyndebourne Chorus as one of the gloriously grotesque Ugly Sisters.
Things to look out for
A highlight of Act I is the first of La Fée’s most glittering numbers, full of glorious ornamentation, trickling runs and trills:
How to book
Cendrillon is on stage at Glyndebourne from 12 October – 2 November.
Booking for performances at these venues is now open:
Enhance your experience
For the performance of Cendrillon on 20 October children’s tickets are also available for only £10 each when one or more full price ticket is purchased at £39 or above. The performance is recommended for children aged 12 and above.
Free pre-performance talks
Ticket holders for the Glyndebourne performance on 31 October can join us for a bite-sized introduction to the opera. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance.
We will also be holding pre-performance talks in each of our Tour venues: Canterbury: 7 November, Norwich: 14 November, Woking: 23 November, Milton Keynes: 28 November. Please contact the box office at each venue to book.
Cendrillon Study Event
Glyndebourne Ebert Room, Sunday 7 October, 10:30am – 4:30pm, £16 (£10 concessions)
Led by operatic experts with members of the production team and singers from the Glyndebourne Chorus, this event will provide you with in-depth insight into the opera.
Fiona Shaw’s exquisite take on Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia was a huge critical success in Tour in 2013 and Festival 2015. You can explore the production in this photo gallery, this interview with the cast and creative team and this episode of the Glyndebourne Podcast.