This weekend, UNC Opera will be performing their version of Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet’s “Cendrillon,” translated to “Cinderella” in English, in the James and Susan Moeser Auditorium in Hill Hall. The Saturday performance will start at 8 p.m., and the Sunday performance will start at 7:30 p.m.
Marc Callahan, the director of the show, said that this retelling of the classic (Cinderella) will be a bit different. This rendition will delve deeper into the characters' personalities.
“You get to know the prince more, and you get to know Cinderella more,” Callahan said.
Callahan was passionate about why students should come see the show. He said that the audience will hear some great singing and might even see some of the next big stars in opera.
“It’s not a long opera, so if it’s someone’s first opera, it’s a wonderful first opera because it’s a story everyone is going to understand," Callahan said. "Granted, it will be a different retelling of the story, a little more contemporary and a little less stilted and old-fashioned."
The opera is set to run for an hour and 10 minutes and is in English.
He said that he has enjoyed watching his students see the characters as real people, as opposed to storybook characters.
“What it comes down to is you see two people who desperately want something in life and are brought together by the circumstances of a ball," Callahan said. "And so it’s not someone saying, ‘Oh, I want to be saved by a prince.’ It’s two people who were meant to meet and then to be together.”
Callahan said he loves “bringing the history of the original performance” and “hearkening back to the truth of the opera,” and does so through his use of electricity, music and stagecraft. He believes that opera is still a very prominent 21st-century art form, not to mention is still very powerful. This is Callahan’s first opera at UNC.
Madeline Edwards, the actress playing Cinderella one of the two nights, said that she has always loved the story of Cinderella ever since she was a little kid, and it has been special to combine it with her love for opera.
Edwards said, “You can really make your character come alive.” She puts emphasis on truly embodying the character by keeping in mind what the character must be thinking at all times and how the character grows throughout the story.
“Everyone wants happiness. Everyone desires happiness in some way, shape or form,” Edwards said. “It’s magical to see that come to life in a pure kind of way in the form of love.”
Edwards said that she doesn’t think opera gets the respect it deserves.
“I think it’s a really unique and exciting experience that people can have that you wouldn’t normally get,” she said.
Senior Michael Laporte, the actor playing the role of Prince Charming one night, said he was excited to play one of his first lead roles in an opera. He said that he wants to show the audience that there is depth to the classic role of Prince Charming.
“('Cinderella') has a lot of themes that are universal," Laporte said. "Themes of love and wondering when the right person is going to come along for you, and then if there is a right person.”
He also said the opera tackles more serious issues.
“On a more serious note, you have themes of oppression, the people in power, like the prince, who even though he has so much is lacking what he needs," Laporte said. "And then you have people like Cinderella, who has nothing. But in reality they are having the same problem.”
He loves hearing how voices can be projected with such emotion.
“Opera is about going to a place where music can move you and affect you in ways that theatre by itself can’t,” Laporte said.
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