December 12, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Cinderella at the Scottish Rite

"A post-holiday gift to the community..."

By Tom Maguire

Culture Vulture

Tom Maguire is a musician, arts supporter and a guy who travels the Southwest in a 13’ Scamp trailer, because he couldn’t figure out how the tent poles went together.

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We haven’t even opened our Chanukah gifts on this fifth day of that holiday celebration and Christmas is still 13 shopping days away, but I am already looking forward to a mid-January gift. A post-holiday series of three free performances of Jules Massenet’s opera Cinderella on January 11, 12 and 13 are a gift from the Santa Fe Concert Association to the community of Santa Fe.

The Concert Association presents these free Community Opera performances of Massenet’s beautifully touching opera at the Scottish Rite Temple in a fully staged and costumed production. What a perfect spot for this production. The Scottish Rite Temple, with its petite European-style theater, has a fairy-tale quality all its own and the permanent stage drops it houses speak more to the time of Massenet’s premiere at Salle Favart, the present-day Opéra-Comique, in 1899 than the 1911 completion date of the Scottish Rite. I can picture that sweet theater space as the setting for this classic romantic fairy tale.

SFCA’s production features professional opera singers from around the country, with youth musicians of the Concert Association, its EPIK Artists, taking on the chorus parts. This special SFCA version, arranged by Joseph Illick, is in English and lasts one hour.

The compositions of Massenet, a French composer best known for his operas, were very popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and Massenet's sense of humor and wit is evident in Cinderella, which he composed between 1894 and 1895. With a libretto by Henri Cain, the scenario for the opera was conceived by Massenet and Cain at the Cavendish Hotel while they were in London for the premiere of the composer’s Le Cid.

The cast is made up of young professional opera singers from around the country who have sung at leading opera houses and in major opera festivals, including the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Ft. Worth Opera, Madison Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Long Beach Opera and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. They include Kate Tombaugh as Cinderella, Kyle Albertson as Pandolfe (her father), Alissa Anderson as Madame de la Haltière (her stepmother), Claire Shackleton as The Prince and Clare Jamito as The Fairy Godmother.

The Friday and Saturday performances (January 11 and 12)  are at 7 p.m. and the Sunday, January 13t performance is at 2 p.m. While admission is free and no reservations are required, I suggest you get there early as seating is open and available on a first come, first served basis. You know how we are in Santa Fe—we come late and think, “it won’t start ‘til I get there.”

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