Diventa Sua Moglie
To create their opera's libretto, Rossini & Ferretti adapted Charles Perrault's classic fairy tale to anchor it within a strong reality. Stripped of magical turns of plot, Rossini's opera relied rather on new surprises to lift the drama out of bare life.
Staying true to Rossini's balance of the realistic and the fanciful, we envisioned the tale within the context of contemporary life's preoccupations, but sought to ornament the production in visual surprises, humour, and fantasy. After all La Cenerentola is a melodrama, but remains giocoso in character.
We wanted to present the Rossini story as a paleofuture vision. To do so we set the action in an imaginary future as seen by a 1930's society ensconced in economic depression. This was an era with a utopian view forward, a projected modernism that promised a technologically advanced, harmonious world, a dreamed escape from the suffering of their time. A suffering that is in many ways mirrored by the present day economic climate.
While we linked the opera to the financial collapse of our time—a crisis that was not supposed to happen after 1929, we exuberantly created our own vision of the fantasies alive in the tale.
In the 1930s, as now, society worshipped movie stars—the 'princes' of the day. In our depicted future the way a man of means finds a suitable partner is to have potential brides participate in a reality TV show to win the honor. Angelina (Cenerentola) and her two stepsisters are given the opportunity to participate in the program—Diventa Sua Moglie (Become His Wife).
Cast in Retro-futurism/Art Deco inspired costumes and settings alive with visual references to 1930's science fiction culture, with nods to 20th century classic films such as Fritz Lang's Metropolis and Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, the opera's fanciful set design delights millennial audiences for its view of the present day as a futuristic vision from the past. The rags to riches fairy tale is alive, but presented through our society's obsession with celebrity, with the fashion and star of the moment, and the thin promise of technological and social progress.
Ours is a colorful, futuristic spectacle, ready for primetime, but that focuses acutely on the power of Rossini's music. The production we created is to serve, as well as swerve around, the expectations of today's audiences.