An opera version of Cinderella will be playing Saturday night at Corbin High School, but it isn’t filled with singing mice and fairy godmothers.
“It’s based on an old French fairy tale that was published in 1697. Rossini wrote this about 200 years ago and there were far fewer magical effects possible on stage, so instead of having singing mice and magic pumpkins, he tends to lead it toward a non-magic resolution,” said Evelyn Hughes, Artistic Director and Conductor for Peach State Opera, the traveling opera company based in Georgia that will be in Corbin performing Cinderella Saturday at the Corbin High School Auditorium.
Gioachino Rossini — the Italian composer perhaps best known for The Barber of Seville — still infuses his version of Cinderella with important themes, like the triumph of good over greed and envy. The poor girl still marries a handsome prince. There are colorful costumes and comic antics aplenty.
But some details are different. There’s a wicked stepfather instead of stepmother. The fairy godmother is replaced by a philosopher. A bracelet stands in for the glass slipper. But the changes are what make it fresh and interesting, Hughes contends.
“There’s a lot of stuff to watch,” Hughes said. “Plus, there is some world class singing. We are an opera company after all.”
For Peach State Opera, this will be the fifth time they’ve performed Rossini’s Cinderella. They’ll do it again next weekend in Rome, Georgia.
Even for folks who may think they don’t like an opera, Hughes said Saturday’s performance of Rossini’s Cinderella is worth a night at the theater. The company goes to great pains to make their performances audience friendly, even for those who aren’t necessarily opera fans. All shows are sung in English. And there will likely be a projector above the stage showing the lyrics to the songs as they are being performed for those unused to having a “story sung to them.”
The story is family friendly. Hughes said children who are relatively patient — she suggests kids five-years-old and up — should be able to enjoy the show without any problems.
“We keep our productions about two hours. It’s a very reasonable amount of time,” Hughes said. “We want young people to be captivated by what they are seeing and encourage them to maybe be the on-stage talent of the future.”
Peach State Opera has been to Corbin before, and Hughes said the reception has been great each time.
“The people in Corbin are so nice and helpful,” Hughes said. “We really enjoy performing there and are looking forward to coming back.”
At the last show, Hughes said several students from Corbin High School helped the company’s lighting director.
“He sort of mentored them. Sometimes they still text him with questions about things. I think that’s great,” Hughes said.
Hughes encouraged everyone interested make sure to catch the performance, and predicts they will become enamored with opera by the time it is over.
“I think in this online world, people just want to be moved by something real,” Hughes said. “They want to feel the sadness of the character who is dying, or the hilarity and antics of the stepsisters. They want to laugh and cry and feel … it’s a connection that’s hard to come by, but I think it’s one we can provide.”
Rossini’s Cinderella will be performed by Peach State Opera Saturday night, 7:30 p.m. at the Corbin High School Auditorium. Doors open about an hour before performance. Tickets are available. Students get discounted rate.
If you have any questions, call 524-1354 for more information, or go online to www.fineartsseky.org.