Buxton International Festival


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A Buxton International Festival production

Pauline Viardot (1821-1910)

’When I want to do something, I do it in spite of water, fire, society, the whole world!’ said Pauline Viardot: the most famous Romantic heroine you’ve never heard of. A household name across Europe during the late 19th century she led an extraordinary life, but her star has unjustifiably faded.

Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon is an elegant retelling of the classic fairy tale Cinderella, though a little more light-hearted with a hapless father rather than an evil stepmother. From the Walt Disney version to Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Massenet’s Cendrillon it is a well-told tale, yet thanks to Viardot’s fascinating life, her version is among the most interesting. This miniature operetta pulls together many threads of 19th century Parisian musical life and has been described as ‘a retelling with Gallic wit, Italianate bel canto, and a quirkiness all her own’.

Viardot was born in Paris into a renowned operatic family. Her father was Manuel García, the Spanish tenor for whom Rossini had written the role of Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, and her older sister was the celebrated soprano María Malibran. She herself was an acclaimed mezzosoprano and her social circle was a who’s who of 19th century European artistic society. She studied piano with Liszt, co-authored mazurkas with Chopin, sang Tristan and Isolde excerpts with Wagner in her living room, hosted Charles Dickens and Henry James as house guests, and shared insights with her best friend George Sand.

An Opéra comique in three acts, sung in French with English surtitles, with libretto by the composer.

BIF is proud to introduce the Young Artists for our 2021 Festival in their very own production of this charming and somewhat unappreciated chamber opera.

Supported by The Stonehouse Foundation

Laura Attridge Director
Iwan Davies Music Director
Anna Orton Designer
Michelle Bristow Costume Designer
Rachel E Cleary Lighting Designer
Olivia Presto Stage Manager


Nikki Martin Cendrillon
Camilla Seale Prince
Pasquale Orchard La Fee
Olivia Carrell Maguelonne
Flora Macdonald Armelinde
Andrew Henley Barigoule
Ross Cumming Pictordu

  • Duration: 1hr 15mins
  • Price: £35



Under 35s: £10 (for Next Gen Friends of BIF, from 1 June. Proof of age required.)