In July 2023, an enchanting operatic production of Cinderella directed by Fred Abrahamse will come to life in a spectacular family-friendly production on the stage of the Artscape Opera House. Presented by Cape Town Opera (CTO) in association with Abrahamse and Meyer Productions, the South African premiere of this brand-new adaptation of Pauline Viardot’s chamber opera Cendrillon features a cast of world-class singers accompanied by a chamber orchestra with fantastical costumes in a magnificent set and staging that will transport audiences of all ages to a true fairy-tale world. Expect a magical tale brimming with all the laughs, tears, glitter and glamour so beloved and familiar to fans of sumptuous opera and Disney-style musicals.

From the moment they enter the auditorium, patrons will be greeted and dazzled by a sparkling set framed with a giant mirror, creating a mesmerising reflection of all aspects of the performance. This tale of a dream come true soars with Pauline Viardot’s spellbinding score filled with delightful songs and adapted with a script and lyrics in English for the enjoyment of the whole family.

Arguably one of the most beloved children’s stories of all time, Cinderella has captured the imagination of countless writers, composers, choreographers and filmmakers throughout the centuries. Based on Charles Perrault’s traditional fairy-tale, Cinderella tells of the sweet and kind girl who slaves away in her stepfather’s household, subservient to his demands and those of her two mean-spirited, but hilarious stepsisters. With the magical help of her benevolent kindFairy Godmother, she attends the Prince’s royal ball,where they fall in love. Thanks to her glass slipper, forgotten in haste, Cinderella is found again by the prince and released from her wretched life to live happily ever after.

The all-star cast is led by Fleur du Cap Theatre Award-winning sopranos Brittany Smith as Cinderella, and Janelle Visagie as her stepsister Maguelonne. They will be joined by Cape Town Opera Judith Neilson Young Artists Alida Scheepers as the Fairy Godmother (pictured), Tylor Lamani as Prince Charming, Van Wyk Venter as the Chamberlain Count Barigoule; Asisipho Petu as the stepsister Armelinde and Luvo Rasemeni as Cinderella’s stepfather, Baron de Pictordu.  The creative team boasts musical direction by José Dias, lighting design by Faheem Bardien, sets and costumes by Marcel Meyer, masks and costume construction by Phyllis Midlane and choreography by Kirsten Isenberg. All the fairies and little creatures in the production are played by young performers from The Waterfront Theatre School, ranging between eight and eleven years of age. 

Accordingto director Fred Abrahamse, besides being an absolute joy for all theatre-goers, Cinderella is the ideal way to introduce young children to opera as it is fun, visually and musically delightful and just over one hour in duration. From the enchanting Fairy Godmother who, with her nursery of novices and fairies-in-training, transforms Cinderella’s tattered dress and scruffy pumps into a gorgeous gown and glass slippers, to the pumpkin-turned-carriage and a whole menagerie of mice, rats, horses and lizards who help ready Cinderella for the royal ball, a ballroom scene filled with courtiers, opulent chandeliers and elegant ballet, all set on a revolving stage design resembling a giant music box – this production is a visual spectacle and a feast for the senses. 

To make the tale accessible to audience members of all ages, the libretto has been fully adapted and translated into English by Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer, with new lyrics by José Dias. The original score is also receiving a brand-new gorgeous orchestration by award-winning composer duo Arthur Feder and Antoni Schonken. Cape Town Opera is deeply grateful to Mr and Mrs Stanislas Yassukovich for their generous sponsorship of this production.

Cinderella runs from 4 to 8 July 2023 at the Artscape Opera House. Evening performances are on 4, 6,7 and 8 July at 7pm, with matinees on 5, 6 and 8 July at 2pm. Tickets range from R180 to R400 through Computicket or 0214217695, and advanced booking is highly recommended. Follow @capetownopera on Instagram for regular updates. www.capetownopera.co.za.