Seattle Opera to present family-friendly ‘Cinderella’

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Photo by © Brett Coomer, La Cenerentola, Houston Grand Opera, 2007 The visual effects are spectacular in Seattle Opera’s “La Cenerentola.”
Seattle Opera rings in the New Year with a mix of royalty, whimsy and madcap hilarity when it stages “La Cenerentola,” Rossini’s charming take on the beloved Cinderella story.

It’s the first time the company will be performing this particular production; a uniquely Italian retelling of the famed tale featuring a few noticeable differences.

Instead of a cruel stepmother, there is a pompous stepfather, while a wise philosopher takes the place of the fairy godmother, and a bracelet, not a glass slipper serves as Cinderella’s identification. The creative team behind the show hails from Spain and includes director Joan Font and choreographer Xevi Dorca, with sets and costumes by Joan Guillen.

“This production of Rossini’s brilliant “La Cenerentola” has delighted audiences everywhere it has played,” says Seattle Opera General Director Speight Jenkins. “With a cast of exciting young voices who will make this exacting music their own, and a story that is less about fantasy and more about what’s important in life, our unforgettable ‘Cinderella’ promises to enchant audiences young and old.”

Word has it that the opera’s visual effects are spectacular  —  super bright and colorful — with outrageously wild costumes and clever staging components.

It’s an ideal opera for young people and first-time opera-goers and the company is providing families the perfect opportunity to experience the show at a huge discount on January 20, as one of the season’s designated Family Day performances. Additionally, there will be a special free open house in advance of the production’s opening to encourage families to explore the elements of the opera. The event will feature a full slate of activities, including interactive stations where attendees can learn to dance (in preparation for Cinderella’s Ball!) and challenge themselves with tongue twisters and a lesson in patter singing — one of the funniest sounds in a Rossini comic opera.

Participants can also create their own friendship bracelets to identify with Cinderella, compete in a rat race, make a paper doll that represents their favorite prince or princess and discover Cinderella stories from different cultures.

At noon, the ball begins and everyone present is invited to take to the floor and show off the dance steps and patter songs they learned earlier in the day. Special guest singers will perform selections from the production and members of Seattle Opera’s “Opera Time” program for pre-K through 2nd graders will explore a version of the fairytale through a combination of story-time, singing, movement and theatrical elements.

“Opera’s fantastic sights, sounds, colors, feelings and brilliant play of imagination appeal to the young person in all of us,” says Sue Elliot, director of education for Seattle Opera. “And an opera like Rossini’s ‘Cinderella,’ with its provocative spin on a familiar story, is a great opportunity to introduce young people to the art form. Opera is a world with rich traditions, a vibrant, present and promising future. If you’ve never been, you don’t know what you’re missing!”

“Cinderella” (“La Cenerentola”) opens on January 12 and runs for eight performances through January 26. The free family open house will be held on January 5 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at McCaw Hall. A special Family Day matinee performance is scheduled for January 20, with $15 youth tickets.For more information: (206) 389-7676 or

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