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Contributed by Susan Monagan on 02/24/2009
Ithaca College Theatre and the Ithaca College School of Music will celebrate French 20th- century opera with productions of two musical dramas: Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon (Cinderella) and Maurice Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Wild). The two remaining performances are February 25 and 27 at 8:00 p.m.
Conducted by Brian DeMaris and directed by David Lefkowich, the performances will be held in the Hoerner Theatre in Dillingham Center. The production will be sung in French, accompanied by English supertitles.
Viardot's Cendrillon is a retelling of the familiar story of Cinderella, but this is not your typical Disney fairytale. Written in 1904, Cendrillon”was one of Viardot's last works. Composed as an intimate salon opera, the work was performed in the composer's own music parlor. The Ithaca College production will be presented in the salon opera style in which Viardot created it.
"Stripping away the 'grand opera' aspects to the production, including costumes and scenery and orchestra, has allowed the performers to discover the essence of the piece and discover truth within a clichéd story without losing the integrity of the original fairytale," said director David Lefkowich. Producing Cendrillon gives Ithaca College the rare opportunity to feature the work of a gifted female composer of opera.
Far from the salon opera of Viardot is Maurice Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortilèges. Unlike other fairytales, this one is not about princes, or ponies, or faraway lands. Instead, L'Enfant et les sortilèges is a coming-of-age story in which a boy must learn to deal with the consequences of his actions without the help of a fairy godmother. "In contrast to Cendrillon, L’Enfant will be a full, grand opera production where we have pushed the design of this show to new heights, in a multitude of ways," Lefkowich said. Collectively, the students will participate in over 100 costume changes, and selected performers will be flown through the air or perform on stilts.
Lefkowich acknowledged the pieces selected for this year's opera are different from one another, but added that the works are alike in that they are linked by the common theme of challenging early 20-century French operas. "Both are initially perceived as childish fairytales," he said, "though they both come with a much darker underbelly."
Ticket prices range from $4.50 to $10.00 and can be purchased in person at the Ithaca College box office in Dillingham Center or by calling the box office at 607-274-3224. Tickets may also be purchased by visiting the Ticket Center at the Clinton House or by calling 607-273-4497. In addition, tickets may be purchased by visiting www.ithacaevents.com.
The cast of L'Enfant et les sortileges includes Mallory Berlin '09 as L'Enfant, Hilary Bucell '09 as Le Feu, Laura Intravia '09 as La Princesse, Melanie Wade '09 as La Maman and La Tasse Chinoise, Carami Hilaire '09 as La Bergère and L'Ecureuil, Omar Najmi ’09 as Le Petit Viellard and La Rainette, John Stanton '09 as La Théière, Garry McLinn '09 as L'Horloge and La Chat, Tom Lehman '10 as Le Fauteuil and L'Arbre, and Sara Weaver '10 as La Libellule.
Cendrillon features a cast including Kristen Gobetz '09 as Marie (Cendrillon), Tina Boosahda '09 as La Fée, Erin Winker '09 as Armelinde, Anne Byrne '09 as Maguelonne, Daniel Bates '11 as Le Comte Barigoule, Thom Furey '09 as Le Prince Charmant, and Tom Lehman '10 as Le Baron de Pictordu.
The creative team includes conductor/musical director and assistant professor/music director of opera and musical theater Brian DeMaris; scenic designer and assistant professor Brian Prather; lighting designer and assistant professor and associate chair Steve TenEyck; costume designer and associate professor Greg Robbins; technical director and assistant professor Colin Stewart; and production stage manager Shayna Petit '09.
A nationally recognized professional theater training program, the Department of Theatre Arts attracts students from across the United States. Through Ithaca College Theatre and the production season, undergraduate students present all aspects of theater in a professional model. Ithaca College Theatre has been a cultural resource for Tompkins County and the region for more than 70 years.