This Cinderella Misplaces a Melody, Not a Glass Slipper

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Cinderella composer Alma Deutscher (in orange) and her sister Helen with the cast of 'Cinderella' after the Vienna premiere. (Photo: Courtesy of Alma Deutscher)

Cinderella, the opera, is as miraculous as the fairy tale on which it's based. Twelve-year-old Alma Deutscher wrote the score. She started composing the work when she was eight, and this sweet-voiced British girl is already drawing comparisons to another prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Deutscher's Cinderella got a German-language debut in Vienna last year. Now, a new version with an English-language libretto (plus extra music for choir and dancers) premieres at San Jose Opera, with Deutscher herself playing violin and piano in the orchestra. My co-host Tomás Riley notes that Deutscher shows wisdom beyond her age by creating a new kind of Cinderella, a heroine who is not only pretty, but someone of talent and intellect. In Deutscher's version, Cinderella is a composer, and the prince -- also a poet -- seeks her not as the owner of a lost glass slipper, but as the composer of a melody that’s entranced him. We're entranced. Details here.