May 1, 2007

Cinderella finds Prince Charming at Sacramento State

Photo: Prince Charming, Robert Vann, finds himself charmed by Cinderella, Leslie Sandefur, in the Sacramento State Opera Theatre production of Masenet’s “Cinderella.”
Prince Charming, Robert Vann, finds himself charmed by Cinderella, Leslie Sandefur, in the Sacramento State Opera Theatre production of Masenet’s “Cinderella.”

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A rare staging of Jules Massenet’s opera “Cinderella” premieres May 11 at the Sacramento State Theatre.

Performances are May 11, 17 and 19 at 8 p.m. with a matinee performance May 13 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 general admission, $12 for students and seniors, and are available at the Sacramento State Ticket Office, by calling (916) 278-4323, or at tickets.com.

Sung in English, “Cinderella” is presented by the Department of Music, directed by Lynn Stradley, professor of voice and opera production, and co-directed by Leslie Sandefur, graduate assistant.

This is Stradley’s final opera at Sacramento State. He is retiring after 30 years teaching voice and producing opera at the campus.

Conductors are Professor Leo Eylar and Ryan Murray, with the splendid Sacramento State Opera Orchestra in the pit. Choreography is by Sarah Henshaw, graduate student in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

“Cinderella” boasts a large cast, with 30 actors on stage for some scenes requiring elaborate staging. “There’s movement all the way through this show,” Stradley said, “and there has been a tremendous contribution for the dance sequences by our wonderful student choreographer, Sarah Henshaw.”

Like many other roles in this staging, the part of Cinderella is double-cast. Liisa Davila will perform the role May 11 and 17. Sandefur will step into the glass slippers for the May 13 and 19 performances. Robert Vann is their Prince Charming.

While not performed as often as many other Massenet works, the opera has been described as tuneful and melodious by critics, and tells the familiar version of the story of the young servant girl who found her Prince Charming.

“The music is not only melodious, but spicy and dramatic too, with marvelous instrumentation,” Stradley said. It’s a very exciting work to stage, and very accessible musical theater, because the characters are so engaging. The stepmother and stepsisters are very funny people, in dramatic contrast with Cinderella, Prince Charming, and the Fairy Godmother, who have some incredibly beautiful music to sing.”

For more information about “Cinderella,” call the Department of Music at 278-5155.