La Cenerentola

Lyric Opera of Kansas City
September 2004

We wanted an honest, earnest approach to the famous fairy-tale — and opted for an American Cinderella story dealing with the hopes and dreams of Hollywood against the hardships of the Great Depression. Magnifico becomes a down-and-out Vaudvillian who is fast being replaced by the Silver Screen — Alidoro becomes a Hollywood producer and Ramiro a star-director looking to escape the frivolous westerns and musical for "truth and honesty" in his next star. Ramiro's valet, Dandini, becomes his chauffer - and in disguise, becomes "director for a day" with all the Imperial trimmings.

The references to the "palazzo" become "Palace Pictures", and above all, goodness triumphs over deceit with a Fred and Ginger finale celebrating forgiveness and joy. The movie world has it's Canteen (populated by look-alike stars of the era), a gun-slinging western, a sword-and-sandal historical epic, a drawing room comedy — and a Busby Berkeley production number that has to be redone time and time again whenever Magnifico messes up the shot! Keith Brumley, Mary Traylor and Jim Sale set about finding whimsical solutions to the opera house in Kansas City and sorting through the variety of images to provide the requisite illusions, stereotypes, and ultimately, individuality to make the comedy reflective of the bubbles and the humanity in the music.


Photographs courtesy of Tracy Davis