As a part of its continuing Family Series, the State Street Ballet will present its nationally applauded production of Sergei Prokofiev‘s ballet Cinderella, Opus 67 (1944) at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 9, in the Granada Theater, 1214 State St.
Choreographed by Rodney Gustafson, State Street’s artistic director, the production features “opulent sets, digital animation, and period-perfect costumes.”
That Cinderella is a ballet intended for children may be gathered from the fact that, as in The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, the heroine is alive and triumphant at the curtain.
Jaded balletomanes may thus being inclined to dismiss Cinderella for not being a “real” ballet (reality, in this case, being an innocent young woman dying in the end), but the more fools they.
The Soviet Union had begun to push the Nazis out of Russia in 1944, but things were still pretty grim in the USSR. And, for all the lip service paid by cultural commissars to “socialist realism,” they much preferred upbeat fantasies.
As one critic of the politburo’s artistic policies commented: “Realism was the last thing they wanted.”
That said, Prokofiev’s score is not about happy endings but about fleeting moments. Forget the story, music by itself doesn’t do narrative. It is about movement, not action; about feelings, not thoughts.
Cinderella is one of Prokofiev’s greatest scores, but the scenario is irrelevant. Listening to it, it is easy to see people dancing — not like characters in a play, but like reeds in a mountain stream or leaves on a tree in the wind.
As music, Cinderella is like one of those 18th century suites of dances from which the symphony evolved: exponentially expanded, of course, but the roots are still showing. If it doesn’t make the choreographer’s job easy, it certainly makes it more straightforward.
General admission tickets to Cinderella are $36, $46 and $56, with a special $24 for students and children. Patron tickets (loge or box seating) are $104. Tickets are available at the Granada box office, by phone at 899.2222, or online at www.granadasb.org.
Note from State Street Ballet: “Following the performance, a royal reception for children and their families will be hosted by Cinderella and her cast of characters. The party features crafts, refreshments, and photo opportunities with Cinderella.
Due to limited capacity, reservations are required. Call 845-1432 to RSVP. The reception is free of charge, but performance tickets must be purchased from the Granada prior to making reservations.”