Preview: Dunster House Opera's 'Cinderella'

February 9, February 14-16, 8:30p.m.

Dunster House Dining Hall

Directed by Katherine Moon '14

Music Directed by George X. Fu '13

Produced by Stephanie A. Havens '14 and Marina P. Chen '15

The Dunster House Opera is notable for being completely run by Harvard undergraduates—this winter, from head to glass slipper. Opening in Dunster Dining Hall on Saturday, this rendition of Jules Massenet’s “Cinderella” (“Cendrillon,” in itsoriginal French) uses an enormous cast, over a dozen named parts, and a shortened script to tell the classic fairy tale.

Director Katherine E. Moon ’14 says the DHO team chose “Cinderella” because it involves as many undergraduate performers as possible: the opera has many main parts and a chorus that is on stage for more than half the production. “We knew the talent that existed on campus, and we wanted to make sure that there were roles to fill and then some,” she says.

The two leads will be played by Adams House roommates Amelia H. Ross ’14 (Cinderella) and Allison A. Ray ’14 (Prince Charming), a casting that is in keeping with Massenet’s double soprano singing parts.

“[Ray and Ross] have such chemistry together because they’re roommates and best friends. We had to choose them,” co-producer Stephanie A. Havens ’14 says. Because of Ray’s strong vocals and connection with her roommate on stage, Havens decided to maintain the original score’s soprano, and therefore female, Prince Charming.“It was a no brainer,” Havens says.

In addition to including many of Harvard’s talented opera singers, DHO’s “Cinderella” is meant to be an audience-friendly modern adaptation. The script itself is accessible because it both maintains the intended comedy of Massenet’s “Cendrillon” and is comically enhanced by the opera’s sometimes spotty translation, Havens says. “We think the audience would enjoy something more comic,” Havens’s co-producer Marina P. Chen ’15 says.

Also in an effort to make the opera accessible, Moon and music director George X. Fu ’13 cut DHO’s version of “Cinderella” to a short two hours (including intermission). “If you don’t know anything about opera, this is a great one to come to because we reduced it to make it really digestible and watchable,” Moon says.

Staff writer Raquel A. Schreiber can be reached at raquelschreiber@college.harvard.edu.

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