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Cinderella story hold the pumkin

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The true origin of the rags-to-riches fairy tale remains unclear, but for sure the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini debuted his La Cenerentola (chin-a-rin-tola) opera when he was 25, in 1817. It would be more than a century later, in 1950, that Disney released its film loaded with "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" magic. This weekend, Orlando Opera presents the Rossini opera based on the Cinderella story, but not without a few tricks up its sleeve.

Roving opera stage director Garnett Bruce brings to life an all-American interpretation of the classic that spins around Busby Berkeley production numbers on a 1930s soundstage. Andy Howard of Orlando Opera couldn't be more thrilled about Bruce's vision, which has already pleased audiences of the Austin Lyric Opera and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

"He has created a very very clever method of Americanizing this comic version of a classic fairy tale. He has reset the production in Great Depression Hollywood (what a coincidence!!!), and replaced the prince with a director looking for a new leading lady. Cinderella's step-family are Vaudevillians, the father trying to push his two daughters as a cheesy twins act as they watch the Vaudeville empire collapse giving way to the big screen," Howard explained in an e-mail.

Also, in keeping with the push for collaborations among arts groups, the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park this weekend performs a choral work composed by Rossini later in his life, an arrangement of the Stabat Mater, with a free lecture about the composer.

Wearing several new hats at the opera, Howard's new title is "Director of Public/Community Relations and Education," and he's all about viral marketing: Mention that you saw Orlando Opera's Facebook page to receive 5 bucks off a ticket to La Cenerentola.

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