The Packard Humanities Institute and Opera San José present the American premiere (and world premiere of English language version) of 12-year-old composer, violinist, and pianist Alma Deutscher's opera Cinderella, webcast live from San Jose, California. In her second opera, Deutscher reimagines the familiar and beloved fairy-tale, creating a lively comic opera that features the composer herself playing the violin, piano, and organ. This lavish production of Alma Deutscher’s Cinderella is the American premiere (and world premiere of English language version) with large orchestra, choir and dancers. Alma has extended and expanded the music for it. It is led by renowned British conductor jane Glover.
Alma Deutscher's opera is based on the fairy tale, but music itself has become the central theme of the story. The setting is an opera company run by the step-mother, who inherited it from Cinderella’s father when he died. Cinderella herself is a composer with beautiful melodies springing into her head, but her new family treats her with contempt, especially the step-sisters, who are vain would-be divas. The prince is a poet, and the story ends with the Prince searching for the lost melody for his poem (rather than a lost slipper).
Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Transylvanian, there lived a girl called Cinderella. Her mother died when she was young, and she was brought up by her loving father, the manager of the little opera house at the edge of Brasslichmei, the capital.
Cinderella would often entertain her father by singing him the beautiful melodies that sprang into her head. Some years later, her father married again, an aging prima donna with two daughters of her own, Griselda and Zibaldona. When Cinderella’s father died, Cinderella’s step-mother took over the opera company, and everything changed...
Few twelve-year-olds are gifted as Alma Deutscher. An already-experienced soloist on the piano and violin, a budding composer with numerous concertos and chamber works to her name, the young musician has captured the hearts of audiences, music critics, and leading artists of the musical world (among them Sir Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, and Anne-Sophie Mutter). One of her greatest accomplishments to date has been her full-length opera Cinderella. The work premiered in an early chamber version in 2015 in Israel, and then was performed in a fuller version in Vienna under the patronage of the great conductor Zubin Mehta. The Viennese production was warmly received in the press. As put by the Daily Telegraph, "Cinderella proves that Deutscher is an extraordinary talent. That a young girl could have the mental energy to compose a two-hour opera and take credit for its full orchestration is staggering; that the end result is a lively, coherent piece of comic opera is exceptional." The new version of the opera presented by Opera San José has been re-orchestrated for a full chamber orchestra.
Vanessa Becerra, Cinderella
Jonas Hacker, Prince
Mary Dunleavy, Stepmother
Karin Mushegain, Zibaldona
Stacey Tappan, Griselda
Claudia Chapa, Emeline
Nathan Stark, King
Brian James Myer, Minister
Helen Deutscher, Flower Girl
Opera San José Orchestra
Opera San José Chorus
Opera San José Dancers and Supers
Andrew Whitfield, assistant conductor
Jane Glover, conductor
Brad Dalton, stage director
Steven Kemp, set designer
Johann Stegmeier, costume designer
Alyssa Oania, costume director
Robert Pickens, wig & makeup designer
David Lee Cutbert, lighting designer
Richard Powers, choreographer
Andrew Whitfield, chorus master