Another night, and another impressive performance by Glyndebourne on Tour at Milton Keynes Theatre.
Massenet's Cendrillon is the second Glyndebourne production to be staged in MK this week, and it's a very different affair from the company's superbly dark and trimmed-down La Traviata.
Based on Charles Perrault's 1698 version of Cinderella, Cendrillon is a light comic opera sung in French with English supertitles, with plenty of sparkle and magic.
Particularly fun were Agnes Zwierko as the wicked stepmother Madame de la Haltiere and Eduarda Melo and Kezia Bienek as the two wonderfully ghastly stepsisters Noemie and Dorothee.
There was beautiful interplay between the main female voices, with Aliz Le Saux as an adorable Cendrillon, Caroline Wettergreen as an effortlessly understated Fairy Godmother and Eleonore Pancrazi as Prince Charming.
And the spirits and dancers were entertainingly weird and wonderful.
However, I did find some of the staging in this production somewhat confusing. The rather clever-looking set, consisting of a series of mirrored boxes, tended to be something of a distraction, sometimes revealing what was going on behind the scenes,as well as in front. And there was some very peculiar chorus business with shoes, before Cinderella even got to the ball.
In this opera, Prince Charming is played by a mezzo soprano. And in this production, in the final scene where Cendrillon is finally reunited with her true love, the prince, who also doubled as a maid, remained in her female clothing. While this was almost certainly intended to raise important questions about gender and relationships, my first (unworthy) thought was that she'd missed a costume change.
But all in all, a very entertaining evening with some lovely singing, and a great contrast to the intensity of La Traviata.
The final performance of Cendrillon at Milton Keynes Theatre is tomorrow, Saturday, at 7.15pm.
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