Jules Massenet no doubt sought to enchant his era when he set Charles Perrault’s fairytale to music. With Cendrillon, the composer offers us one of his most attractive works, quite unlike other operatic adaptations of the tale. The mischievous Lucette and the women around her give the work a tone whose myriad nuances confirm the words of Claude Debussy who saw Massenet as “the musical historian of the female soul”. By gracing the fairy with an unreal coloratura timbre and having the role of the prince sung by a soprano, the composer offers us a vocal festival carried along by a richly varied orchestration alternating between Mozartian finesse, baroque style citations and grand romantic overtones.
To mark the addition of Cendrillon to the Paris Opera’s repertoire, Mariame Clément plays on the myth’s fantasy side, reflecting on the characters’ inner selves whilst setting them free from their tight suits and court shoes.