Arts and Entertainment

'Cinderella:' Puget Sound Opera Company brings classic French romance to Friday Harbor

From top, Katie Hochman and Nerys Jones star in the Puget Sound Opera Company performance of “Cinderella,” Saturday at Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church.   - Puget Sound Concert Opera
From top, Katie Hochman and Nerys Jones star in the Puget Sound Opera Company performance of “Cinderella,” Saturday at Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church.
— image credit: Puget Sound Concert Opera

Puget Sound Concert Opera’s upcoming performance of Jules Massenet’s “Cendrillon” has all the elements of a compelling event.

It will be performed concert-style in Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church, Saturday, 2:30 p.m. The opera is the classic fairy tale of “Cinderella” set by Massenet, the French Romantic composer. It will be performed in its entirety by a cast and chorus of 29 singers accompanied on the piano by Dr. John Burkhardt.

“When you think of opera, you think of staging and sets,” said Regina Thomas, director of the opera company. “Concert-style performance allows us to share the beauty of the music — just the music, with a libretto — presented by the best performers I can get my hands on. This is a very beautiful chorus show with sumptuous harmonies. We’re really excited about doing this.”

The cast is led by soprano Katie Hochman, formerly of Portland Opera, Utah Opera, Willamette Concert Opera, Southwest Washington Symphony, Oregon Symphony and Walla Walla Symphony.

Joining the cast is soprano/mezzo-soprano Nerys Jones, who has performed with the Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera, English National Opera, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and others. She is a veteran of the world stage and most recently performed as Hansel with the Reisopera in Holland.

Thomas describes Massenet’s “Cendrillon” as “a story of true love (with) some of the most beautiful music ever written, including a fabulous women’s chorus of spirits and the unforgettable vocal fireworks of the Fairy Godmother.”

The Puget Sound Opera Company is in its third season. This will be the company’s sixth performance in Friday Harbor; Corinne Stevens of Friday Harbor formerly sang with the company.

A donor helps support the company. Admission to Saturday’s performance is free, although a donation is suggested of $15 general, $10 student and senior.

“Usually, I can almost make transportation costs,” Thomas said of donations. “Sure, it would be nice to break even and I do try to give people some level of compensation but it doesn’t come anywhere near what they’re worth. They just love to sing.”

The company enjoys performing in Friday Harbor. There’s a certain intimacy in performing in a church. The acoustics are great. The audiences are appreciative.

“We’re young and small, and we want to support all these young wonderful artists and bring them out to areas to spark more interest in opera — build interest in opera in areas that may be underserved in classical arts,” Thomas said.

Thomas, an experienced concert and operatic soprano with varied musical tastes (she enjoys listening to “They Might Be Giants” with her 4-year-old son) will do a presentation for music and French students at Friday Harbor High School while on island.

The company has more performances scheduled in Friday Harbor: “Cosi Fan Tutte,” by W.A. Mozart, Dec. 12, 3 p.m., Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church; “Bluebeard's Castle / La Damoiselle Elue,” by Bela Bartok / Claude Debussy, Jan. 30, 3 p.m., Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church.

At A Glance
— What: Puget Sound Concert Opera’s performance of Jules Massenet’s “Cendrillon.”
— When: Sept. 19, 2:30 p.m.
— Where: Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church.
— Admission: Suggested donation of $15 general, $10 student and senior.

Cast and Characters
— Cinderella (also known as Lucette): Katie Hochman
— Pandolphe: Deac Guidi
— Prince Charmant: Nerys Jones
— La Fee: Laura Loge
— Madame de la Haltiere: Carla Hilderbrand
— Noemie: Meg Daly
— Dorothee: Emma Alvarez
— The King: Renwick Hester
— The Master of Ceremonies: Michael Kysar
— The Dean: Michael Dudley
— The First Minister: Dave Holden

— Conductor: Samuel D. McCoy
— Chorus Master/Piano: John Burkhardt

— Chorus: Amanda Gerig, Sunday Moore, Sara Evans, Cozy Josephson, Krista Mercier, Amber Rose Johnson, Emily Robinson, Mandy Bowker, Sibyl Adams, Janet Maclean, Shannon McMullen, Alison Suttles, Vicky Monk, Lance Zielinski, Kaaren Black, Michael Hansen, Joseph Paolino, Keith Hughes

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