At the stroke of midnight, all changes. Such is the mystery of Cinderella.
Somehow this story of the ill-treated step-daughter resonates through the generations. From the cinders to the ballroom and back again in one eventful night.
Laura Hidalgo as Cinderella dances beautifully. She shows patience but firmness to her cruel step-sisters who add a comic touch to the production. Hidalgo embodies empathy as she ushers in an old woman begging for food to warm herself at the hearth. Later the beggar woman returns as a Fairy Godmother and the kitchen changes into an enchanted glade.
Victor Estevez dances the role of the Prince with authority and elegance. At the ball he is struck with the grace of Cinderella in a glorious pas de deux. Just when things are going splendidly, the clock starts to chime and Cinderella must flee the scene so quickly she leaves behind one slipper in her haste.
The Queensland Festival Philharmonic conducted by Nigel Gaynor plays the music of the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev with Slavic passion. It is hard to understand how such essentially optimistic music could have been written between 1940 and 1944 during the Russian agony of World War II. It was first performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in November 1945 when, no doubt, the Russian people wished for a fairy godmother to relieve them of their suffering.
This production, choreographed by Ben Stevenson, reprises the very first sell-out production five and a half years ago of artistic director Li Cunxin, “Mao’s last dancer”. The title role was then performed by the legendary, wonderful Rachael Walsh.
Perhaps one day someone will write a ballet depicting loving and caring step-families to reflect changes in our society and its many blended families. Until then Cinderella remains the archetype.
For adults and children alike, this production is a source of beauty and delight.
Artistic director: Li Cunxin
Choreographer: Ben Stevenson OBE
Set designer: Thomas Boyd
Costume designer: Tracy Grant Lord
Lighting designer: David Walters
Conductor: Nigel Gaynor
Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes with two 20 minute intervals