By Molly Grosskreutz
Everyone knows the story of Cinderella—ragged housekeeper-turned-bombshell, fairy godmother, evil stepsisters—but what if, at the stroke of midnight, the Cinderella we all know and love flees not from a castle, but from an Arabian palace?
The Viterbo music and theatre department’s latest full-stage opera, opening Feb. 22, is centered around this provocative change of setting. Director David Gardiner made the decision to transplant this universal story to the harsh and ornate frontiers of Arabia, which has provided a number of unique and interesting challenges for the cast and crew.
Paige Hauer, a senior music theatre major from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the assistant director. For her, “one of the biggest challenges is incorporating the theme of Arabian nights into an Italian opera.”
She says the story fits the theme well, but choreographing and blocking the chorus has had its difficult moments because the performers are often moving in styles unfamiliar to us Westerners.
Chad Kolbe is the show’s tech director and production manager. Planning the show has been challenging for him as well, because “an Arabian theme means very specific architecture: onion domes, lots of flowing fabric, and other unique lines, shapes, colors and palates.”
Despite these challenges, however, both Hauer and Kolbe are excited for the end result. “It’s my first opera…and the music itself and the music the performers are singing is gorgeous,” Hauer told Lumen.
Kolbe says he is looking forward to seeing “the magic of all of this.” What does that entail? “There are a lot of unexpected moments,” he hinted.
Why should you go?
“You should go to this one because it will be aesthetically and musically beautiful…the lighting, costumes and set are all very luscious and rich,” explained Hauer.
“Everybody should see this show because I think everybody should experience opera,” Kolbe added.
The show runs Feb. 22-24, and tickets are available both online and at the box office.