Everyone loves a happy ending and the Lyric Opera of Chicago delivers a great one in its production of Cendrillon, a Cinderella fairy tale opera by Jules Massenet.
But you might be thinking, opera for my kids? While this charming tale is in French with English translation projected above the stage, Cinderella is a perfect way to experience opera for first-timers. Since everyone knows the story of Cinderella, the Lyric premiere of the romantic comedy is easy to follow along and thoroughly enjoy.
Kids will especially love the beautiful music accompanying the singers, the brilliant costumes that have that special flare for which the Lyric is well known (designed by Laurent Pelly), the really silly stepsisters (Emily Pogorelc and Kayleigh Decker) and their crazy style, and the show-stealing Lyric chorus whose antics as servants and princesses had the opening night audience laughing.
Cendrillon’s (Siobhan Stagg) sweet voice will hold everyone’s attention, while the best performances come from the gorgeous fairy godmother (Marie-Eve Munger) and the wicked stepmother (Elizabeth Bishop).
There are a few changes to the story to note: Cendrillon’s father, Pandolfe (Derek Welton), is browbeaten by her stepmother throughout the show and is a bit of a sad sack who needs to step it up in the parenting department. After the ball, Cendrillon and the prince fall into deep despair and run off to the forest (depicted in this production as the dark rooftops of Paris) after they cannot find each other. And at the end, all is quickly forgiven of the stepmother and stepsisters’ abuse when the family comes together as Prince Charming (Alice Coote) and Cendrillon get their happily ever after.
The show is best for kids (and parents) who can sit for 70 minutes at a time before getting a break at intermission. The show runs 70 minutes more, with a very slow-moving Act Three, after intermission.
Princess lovers will get a treat before each performance and during intermission: a photo with two incredibly beautiful princesses. Plus, the Lyric has children’s concessions available.
If you go
Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago
Dec. 5 and 8 and Jan. 11, 17 and 20. We recommend the matinees on Dec. 5 and Jan. 20 for kids.
For tickets and information, (312) 827-5600 or lyricopera.org/cendrillon
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