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Alma composed a first version of her opera Cinderella in 2015, and made successive revisions of it in the following years, first in 2016 (for the Vienna premiere), then in 2017 for the US premiere, and finally in 2020, for a new production at the Salzburg State Theatre. While the plot of the opera is based on the traditional fairy-tale, Alma adapted to story to revolve around music. Cinderella is a composer, slave worked as a copyist by her step-mother, who runs an opera house. The prince is poet, derided at court for his artistic leanings and lack of interest in the affairs of state. Cinderella and the prince will find one another, just as words find their melody. And once Cinderella flees from the ball, the prince will search for her not with the aid of a glass slipper, but with the beginning of the melody, which only she will know how to continue.
...from the reviews
(German reviews here)
“Alma Deutscher's “Cinderella” Salzburg State theatre: a feast for the eyes and ears. When the orchestral version [of Cinderella] premiered in Vienna in 2016 Alma Deutscher became an instant shooting star. “The notes flutter round me now, they conjure up a song for me” says Deutscher's Cinderella in the first act. Deutscher herself had conjured those notes, and created from within her inner sonic-magic a four-act work in the tradition of comic opera. After a long Corona-induced silence, “Cinderella” now celebrated a glittering premiere in the production by Carl Philip von Maldeghem and under the musical direction of Gabriel Venzago. The evening has something magical about it, in the best sense of the word. Cinderella is exhilarating, enchantingly moving, and spiced with finely ground comedy, and it was deservedly honoured with a standing ovation at the end.” Kirsten Benekam Orpheus Magazine, May 2021.
“A twelve-year-old British girl has written an opera of astounding wit, craft, and musical beauty… A smart producer would mount Cinderella on Broadway. In addition to its comedic force, its score puts recent musicals to shame, whether from the Disney franchise or Andrew Lloyd Webber.” (Heather Mac Donald. Read full review in The New Criterion, 2018).
“A young talent’s sensational burst to prominence, and a buoyant production of the highest professional standard combined to make this the once-in-a-lifetime opera-going event that had audiences standing and cheering.” (Opera Today, 2017).
“12-Year-Old Alma Deutscher Is a Genius To Behold. In a time of doubt and suspicion, hate and war-mongering, to find a voice as original and as uplifting as Alma Deutscher’s, is more than a gift – it is hope. And the little child will lead them? Indeed. Alma’s original rendition of the classic fairy tale in music and song, is a chord to resound in our lives day after day.” Lois Silverstein, Opera Wire, 2017
“Alma Deutscher’s opera sparkles with original ideas… [This] amazing girl who wrote this amazingly good opera. From the inventory of music history emerge remarkable inspirations, which characterize the psychology of the characters.” (Ljubisa Tosic, Der Standard, 2016)
“In concentrated form, Deutscher hosts a firework of her catchiest ear-worms, and the twelve-year-old is a highly gifted melodist. Her cantilenas… convey bottomless grief or overflowing yearning. Supported by accomplished orchestral writing, this Cinderella shines through an effective sequence of arias, duets, ensembles and speech scenes. To sum up, the State Opera has done well to secure this Cinderella, because it is not just an attraction for the Wunderkind-arena, but a good opera in itself.” (Wiener Zeitung, Christoph Irrgeher, 2018)