Composer Gioachino Rossini didn’t have a lot of time for stage magic. Unlike Mozart, he didn’t have time for transformations, or animals, divine messengers or the like. So it’s odd that he took on the fairiest of fairy tales in “Cinderella,” with its glass slippers and Prince Charming and all the trappings of the princess story. Rossini’s “Cinderella” (aka “La Cenerentola”) eschews fantasy for the reality of court intrigue between an impoverished maid and a prince.
David Paul is directing this Music Academy of the West production opening Thursday, and that means opera fans are in good hands regarding this material. Mr. Paul brought the Old Spanish Days-themed version of “Carmen” to the Granada last summer, and beyond trappings of the Californio costumes there was a serious rethink. Don Jose was no longer a tragic hero, but an abusive, ultimately murderous boyfriend. Rossini’s more realistic Cinderella is very much suited to Paul’s modern taste.