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Lyric Opera's Cinderella: Fun and Dreams in Glorious Color

Last season’s Barber of Seville was a confection of brightness and color in both look (oranges and yellows, plants and grilles) and sound.(Isabel Leonard, Nathan Gunn and Alessandro Corbelli). This season’s Cinderella raises that bar. The new to Chicago production is a dream within a dream, an exhilaration of Spanish magical realism. Director Joan Font and Designer Joan Guillen create a zany world of sharp Mediterranean light (in counterpoint to Cinderella’s drab, darkish home), a market day bazaar of sets and costumes in vivid colors and impossible elements including dancing mice, a mirror that magically becomes a carriage, a set that shifts back and forth from home to palace and back again; a court philosopher/ tutor, Alidoro, who makes magic (instead of the fairy godmother) and a prince who wants to be loved for himself. Transformations are the order of the day. Cinderella is based on Charles Perrault's 17th century story of an ill-treated daughter, a wicked stepmother, a fairy godmother, a pumpkin coach, and a “magic” slipper. The opera changes a few things: the daughter is ill treated by a grasping, greedy stepfather, the fairy godmother is a male philosopher, and the slipper is a bracelet. In this production, the mice are a human size chorus of movers and dancers.