Cendrillon: BIF Digital

Tue 3 August 2021

Cendrillon: BIF Digital Festival 2021

Online version via pay per view – available to watch until 31 October 2021 

Pauline Viardot (1821-1910)

A Buxton International Festival production

**** “This performance of Cendrillon was an absolute joy….the best 75 minutes I’ve spent in ages.” Flora Willson, The Guardian

’When I want to do something, I do it in spite of water, fire, society, the whole world!’ said Pauline Viardot: the most famous Romantic heroine you’ve never heard of. A household name across Europe during the late 19th century she led an extraordinary life, but her star has unjustifiably faded.

Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon is an elegant retelling of the classic fairy tale Cinderella, though a little more light-hearted with a hapless father rather than an evil stepmother. From the Walt Disney version to Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Massenet’s Cendrillon it is a well-told tale, yet thanks to Viardot’s fascinating life, her version is among the most interesting. This miniature operetta pulls together many threads of 19th century Parisian musical life and has been described as ‘a retelling with Gallic wit, Italianate bel canto, and a quirkiness all her own’.

Viardot was born in Paris into a renowned operatic family. Her father was Manuel García, the Spanish tenor for whom Rossini had written the role of Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, and her older sister was the celebrated soprano María Malibran. She herself was an acclaimed mezzo soprano and her social circle was a who’s who of 19th century European artistic society. She studied piano with Liszt, co-authored mazurkas with Chopin, sang Tristan and Isolde excerpts with Wagner in her living room, hosted Charles Dickens and Henry James as house guests, and shared insights with her best friend George Sand.

An Opéra comique in three acts, sung in French with English surtitles, with libretto by the composer.

BIF is proud to introduce the Young Artists for our 2021 Festival in their very own production of this charming and somewhat unappreciated chamber opera.

Supported by The Stonehouse Foundation.

With thanks to Stockport Guildhall for help with rehearsal space.

Creatives & Cast

Laura Attridge Director

Iwan Davies Music Director

Anna Orton Designer

Michelle Bristow Costume Designer

Rachel E Cleary Lighting Designer

Olivia Presto Stage Manager


Nikki Martin Cendrillon

Camilla Seale Prince

Pasquale Orchard La Fee

Olivia Carrell Maguelonne

Flora Macdonald Armelinde

Andrew Henley Barigoule

Ross Cumming Pictordu

Watch the Cendrillon opera talk