Overview

MARCH 2-12, 2017

Stanton Welch's production of Cinderella for Houston Ballet opens March 2, 2017

Dancer talk: A 21st Century Cinderella

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Houston Ballet's Center for Dance 

Dr. Elizabeth Klett will speak with choreographer Stanton Welch and some of his Cinderellas about how his interpretation of this fairytale character empowers the dancers and audience members alike to think differently about the timeless tale and female roles in ballet.

special program notes

Houston Ballets performances of Cinderella sponsored by: ConocoPhillips.

It’s about standing up for yourself, making your own decisions, choosing your own path, your own love.

Stanton Welch

Genre

Full-length Classical Ballet

Run Time

Ballet in 3 Acts; approximately 2 hours and 35 minutes

Location

Brown Theater at Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Street at Smith Street

Main Characters

Cinderella, Dandini, Prince, Stepmother, Grizabella, Florinda

Synopsis

ACT 1

Scene I

The Breakfast Room Chez Cinderella

It is mid-morning on the day of the prince’s carnival. Cinderella serves her stepmotherand stepsisters, Grizabella and Florinda, who are aflutter with excitement at the prospect of the evening’s royal ball. Cinderella’s father, already weakened by family discord and alcohol, is easily persuaded to another day’s drinking. Couturiers arrive with the stepfamily’s ball attire and a dance instructor drills the girls inthe evening’s steps. The stepsisters, encouraged by their mother, destroy Cinderella’s hope of attending the ball by throwing her dead mother’s wedding dress into the fireplace. Comforted only by Buttons, the chimney sweep, Cinderella dons the dress and imagines the ball until, confronting her reflection in the mirror, she realizes the dress is ruined. Horrified,she runs from the house.

Scene II

A Street

Cinderella, followed by faithful Buttons, fights through a festive crowd as she seeks to escape to her mother’s grave.

Scene III

A Graveyard

At the tomb, Cinderella’s tears invoke the spirit of her mother, and her passionate life force conjures all the spirits of the dead into brief life. A vision of times past reveals the tragiclove of Cinderella’s parents and the subsequent exploitation of her father’s grief by the cruel stepmother. The spirit of Cinderella’s mother summons the ghost to create a magical dress for Cinderella, and Buttons is transformed into her page. After warning that she must return by midnight, the ghosts transport them to the royal ball.

Intermission

Act 2

The Royal Pavilion

The ball is in progress when the stepmother and stepsisters arrive with an excited flourish, for this evening the prince is expected to choose a bride. The royal companions of the prince arrive, to the admiration of all the ladies, and herald the entrance of the king. Then, to a thrilled crowd, the prince makes his entrance. All seek to ingratiate themselves with him when, suddenly, a chill breeze announces the arrival of a lovely, mysterious young woman. The prince invites her to dance, and, dazzled by his charm, Cinderella readily acquiesces. But she soon realizes he is all vanity and self-absorption. Breaking free of his company she encounters Dandini, the prince’s secretary, and dances with him. The prince is furious at this

breach of royal protocol and demands to know more about her. Cinderella is saved from discovery by the announcement of supper. Left alone, Dandini is joined by Cinderella and the couple begins to fall in love.  After dinner, Cinderella tries to leave but is detained by the prince, who insists that she stay. The clock strikes midnight and the ghosts reclaim the magic dress. Cinderella flees, leaving only a slipper.

Act 3

The Palace and Surrounds

The Prince’s companions are ordered to find the owner of the slipper. They search the world and produce princesses from Spain and Arabia, but to no avail. Ignoring his son’s objections, the king insists that the common folk of thecountry try the slipper. Town ladies rush to get in line, except Cinderella, who is avoiding detection. She comes upon the lovesick Dandini, who gradually recognizes her as his mysterious beloved from the ball. The stepmother tries unsuccessfully to fit the slipper to her daughters’ feet, leaving only Cinderella to try it on. She is proved its true owner. The prince, compelled to recognize a commoner as his future wife, is forced by the king to propose. Cinderella rejects his offer in favor of Dandini, who then must defend himself against the Prince’s outrage. The stepmother, furious at the loss of a royal connection, attacks Cinderella but isstopped by Cinderella’s father, an effort which kills him. In spirit he is reunited with his beloved first wife, and the stepmother, witnessing this vision, descends into madness. Cinderella and Dandini, her true prince, go forward to begin their own story – free from servitude and bound eternally by love.

Artists

Stanton Welch

Choreographer

In July 2003, the acclaimed Australian choreographer Stanton Welch assumed the leadership of Houston Ballet, America's fourth largest ballet company, as artistic director. Since his arrival, Mr. Welch has transformed Houston Ballet by raising the level of classical technique, infusing the company with new energy, drive and vision; introducing works by distinguished choreographers to the repertoire; and attracting some of the world's best coaches to Houston to work with the dancers. He has created works for such prestigious international companies as Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Royal Danish Ballet. 

Sergei Prokofiev

Composer

Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (23 April 1891 – 5 March 1953) was a Russian and Soviet composer, pianist and conductor. As the creator of acknowledged masterpieces across numerous musical genres, he is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. His works include such widely heard works as the March from The Love for Three Oranges, the suite Lieutenant Kijé, the ballet Romeo and Juliet – from which "Dance of the Knights" is taken – and Peter and the Wolf. Of the established forms and genres in which he worked, he created – excluding juvenilia – seven completed operas, seven symphonies, eight ballets, five piano concertos, two violin concertos, a cello concerto, a Symphony-Concerto for cello and orchestra, and nine completed piano sonatas.

Score

Cinderella

Orchestra Conductor

Ermanno Elorio

Costume & Scenic Designer

Kristian Fredrikson  after Pytor Williams 

Lighting Designer

Lisa Pinkham

History

The story has been a favorite for generations, but make no mistake, this is not your childhood Cinderella. More tomboy than princess, Stanton Welchs title character is a striking woman of substance, determination and spunk. Shes in control, fighting the oppression and will of her evil stepmother with wit and vigor. And when she finds true love she grabs it – and wisely holds on with both hands.

 

Performance Image from Ben Stevenson's Cinderella (1988).

Original Premiere Date

November 21, 1945 at Moscow, Russia by the Bolshoi Ballet

Original Choreographer

Rostislav Zakharov (1907-1984) with libretto by Nikolai Volkov after Marius Petipa

STANTON WELCH’S CINDERELLA WORLD PREMIERE DATE

February 21, 1997 at the State Theatre in Melbourne, Australia by the Australian Ballet

 

Houston Ballet Premiere Date

March 6, 2008 in the Brown Theater at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston, Texas (2007/8 season, Rep IV)

 

Houston Ballet Premiere Main Cast

Amy Fote as Cinderella, Ian Casady as Dandini, Connor Walsh as Prince, James Gotseky as Stepmother, Oliver Halkowich as Grizabella, Steven Woodgate as Florinda

Original Scenario

Théophile Gautier with Vernoy de Saint-Georges on a theme by Heinrich Heine’s De l'Allemagne and Victor Hugo's "Fantômes" from Les Orientales

Archival Note

This will be Houston Ballets 2nd time performing Cinderella  as a part of its main season.

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