Cinderella Q&A with director Olivia Fuchs

With the opening night of Cinderella (Cendrillon) drawing closer, we caught up with Director Olivia Fuchs to find out more about how she’s working with our students to bring the fairytale to life

A fairytale for the festive season, Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon is our Winter opera – a reimagining of Cinderella with perfect French operatic form – and plenty of wit and style.

How are rehearsals going?

We’ve been working really hard with two casts. Rehearsals have been great fun, and all the students have gone on transformative journeys, developing their skills and working well together as an ensemble

How has your experience been of working with RNCM students?

I’ve really enjoyed working with the RNCM students and have found them all open, enthusiastic and great to work with. They are interested in exploring their roles dramatically as well as musically, and they are all creating engaging characters.      

It’s lovely to see them all coming into their own.

What is your favourite scene? 

The Act 3 duet between Cendrillon and the Prince. It’s a beautiful piece of music which emerges from the darkest moment in the opera when Cendrillon has tried to kill herself.  

There is a poignancy to the fact that both yearn for each other, sing together but can’t see each other.

And your favourite prop? 

The flying ball gown – I’m a romantic at heart – and the toy car. 

Is there a darkness to this version of the fairytale?

A fairytale wouldn’t be one without darkness. Young people have to go through trials, journey through the metaphorical dark woods of their psyche and face their deepest fears before they can transform their suffering into beauty. 

It is a process of individuation that we can all identify with. Cendrillon tries to kill herself because she has lost all hope, but with the help of her fairy godmother she goes on a transformative journey.

Are there any modern themes? 

We are exploring the two protagonists’ journeys as believable contemporary teenagers who live in a ridiculous adult world. In addition we are including a few modern twists to the story, exploring gender, family dynamics and bad taste.

What’s the scale of the production like? 

There are a lot of people in the chorus! This creates a visual and auditory impact and provides a contrast to the more intimate scenes.  

It has been a challenge to create these scenes in few rehearsals because of the students’ busy schedules, but it’s great to work with so many creative young people.

How does the set play into the story?

There’s a magic mirror wall reminding us that we are reflected in the story. It opens up metaphorical dimensions to the piece and is a very satisfying solution to the many scene changes.

Should we expect any twists on the tale of Cinderella? 

Yes, there are some contemporary twists but I don’t want to give too much away…!

What would you say to a potential audience member?

Enjoy some magic and fairy dust before Christmas. Shed tears of laughter and sadness, and enjoy a visual and sensory feast.


Cinderella (Cendrillon) opens on Wed 6 Dec, with performances on Fri 8 Dec, Sun 10 Dec, Tue 12 Dec, Thu 14 Dec and Sat 16 Dec. 

Find out more and book here

27 November 2017