Opera Queensland and New Zealand Opera have teamed up to produce a delightfully entertaining production.
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Opera Queensland and New Zealand Opera have teamed up to produce a delightfully entertaining Cinderella: or Goodness Triumphant. Rossini’s exuberant re-telling of Charles Perrault’s fairy tale Cendrillon avoids the sentimentality associated with Disney’s version of the Brothers Grimm’s Cinderella but it certainly doesn’t shy away from the cruelty.

Director Lindy Hume provides a platform for her artists to enjoy themselves and they share their joy generously with the audience.   She has created a witty translation of Jacopo Ferretti’s libretto with recitatives by Narelle French. Lines like ‘a minion with an opinion’ litter the text and intimate the comic wit of Gilbert & Sullivan, almost half a century before they arrived on the scene.

The sets, created in New Zealand Opera’s Onehunga facility in Auckland, include a full scale popup ‘olde curiousity shoppe’ for Don Magnifico’s Emporium, and a truly stunning transformation into a Castle Howard English country park. The costumes were made in Brisbane, and contribute to the comic interpretation of 19th century English aristocratic eccentricity with some unusual dressing up of the all male chorus. No spoilers here!

Fiona Campbell is wonderfully earthy and droll as Cinderella, an intelligent girl whose innate goodness charms the prince and triumphs over adversity. She is listed as ‘mezzo’ in the program, but her voice has the gorgeous richness of a contralto – perhaps they just don’t use the term these days.  I am also pleased to note that the publicity image of a beautiful maiden in distress actually features Ms Campbell.  I approve of honesty in publicity.

This story involves a step-father, Don Magnifico, played with lusciously wicked clowning by Andrew Collis, and two equally but deliciously vile step-sisters, Emily Burke and Deborah Rogers. Virgilio Marino is appropriately charming as the Prince; Jason Barry-Smith is charmingly cheeky as the valet who swaps places with his boss to help seek out the most beautiful (and good) potential wife for him; and Ashraf Sewailam brings a powerful authority and kindness to the role of Alidoro, the Prince’s mentor.

The singing is uniformly excellent – when I could hear it. Is it just me?  Rossini’s music calls for a highly embellished melodic line which all of the performers demonstrate with skill and artistry, but they cannot be heard when the orchestra (conductor Wyn Davies) picks up steam and literally drowns out the singing. I’m willing to blame the acoustics, but surely some adaption to the venue would assist, in that case.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Presented by Opera Queensland and New Zealand Opera

Director: Lindy Hume

Opera Queensland Chorus  

Chorus Master Narelle French

Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Conducted by Wyn Davies

Set and Costume Designer: Dan Potra

Lighting Designer: Matthew Marshall

Asst Director and Choreographer: Lisa Wilson

With Fiona Campbell, Virgilio Marino, Jason Barry-Smith, Andrew Collis, Emily Burke, Deborah Rogers, Ashraf Sewailam


Conservatorium Theatre, Griffith University, South Bank

6 – 26 July


Flloyd Kennedy
About the Author
Flloyd Kennedy is an Australian actor, writer, director, voice and acting coach. She was founding artistic director of Golden Age Theatre (Glasgow), and has published critiques of performance for The Stage & Television Today, The Herald, The Scotsman, The Daily Record and Paisley Gazette. Since returning to Brisbane she works with independent theatre and film companies, and has also lectured in voice at QUT, Uni of Otago (Dunedin NZ), Rutgers (NJ) and ASU (Phoenix AZ). Flloyd's private practice is Being in Voice, and she is artistic director of Thunder's Mouth Theatre. She blogs about all things voice and theatre at and