The Packard Humanities Institute and Opera San José present the American premiere (and world premiere of English language version) of 12-year-old composer, violinist, and pianist Alma Deutscher's opera Cinderella, webcast live from San Jose, California. In her second opera, Deutscher reimagines the familiar and beloved fairytale, creating a lively comic opera that features the composer herself playing the violin, piano, and organ.
It is absolutely extraordinary what this young girl has managed to achieve on the violin, the piano, and in her compositions. Her musical sensitivity and her powers of expression already at this age underline her exceptional talent.—Anne-Sophie Mutter.
Few twelve-year-olds are gifted as Alma Deutscher. An already-experienced soloist on the piano and violin, a budding composer with numerous concertos and chamber works to her name, the young musician has captured the hearts of audiences, music critics, and leading artists of the musical world (among them Sir Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, and Anne-Sophie Mutter).
One of her greatest accomplishments to date has been her full-length opera Cinderella. The work premiered in an early chamber version in 2015 in Israel, and then was performed in a fuller version in Vienna under the patronage of the great conductor Zubin Mehta. The Viennese production was warmly received in the press. As put by the Daily Telegraph, "Cinderella proves that Deutscher is an extraordinary talent. That a young girl could have the mental energy to compose a two-hour opera and take credit for its full orchestration is staggering; that the end result is a lively, coherent piece of comic opera is exceptional." The new version of the opera presented by Opera San José has been re-orchestrated for a full chamber orchestra.
Deutscher's opera resets the fairy tale as taking place in an opera company run by Cinderella's evil stepmother. Cinderella, a composer with beautiful melodies flowing out of her, is treated with contempt by her family. With the character of the Prince redrawn by Deutscher as a poet, the opera climaxes when the Prince finds Cinderella's lost melody for his poem.
Royal Albert Hall
Agnès Letestu (Cinderella), José Martinez (The movie star) – Corps de Ballet de l'Opéra national de Paris