Sunday, May 3, 2020

L'opéra de Cendrillon et Il était une fois...

The art of storytelling, is so vital to humans,
maybe more than ever 
during a time of confinement.
I can't travel to gather new stories & world experiences,
but my mind & heart can.
The fairy tale Cinderella came to me recently 
via the Metropolitan Opera website.
Cendrillon de Jules Messenet, written in1899.
I sketched while watching it on my computer screen.

I was brought back to magical fairy tales, characters, costumes & settings
that sustained me in childhood. 
I am brand new to opera. 
What a wonderful way to begin a journey
into a new art form:
An opera for children as well as adults.

As a former teacher I loved exploring the Met's 
lesson plan for Cendrillon which led to note taking
in my daily journal
Studying the French language continues 
to be a sort of enchantment for me.
Voilà, this opera is in French!! Double, triple enchantment!!

 Magnificent costumes, music, dance, comedy, tragedy...
And, of course, "Happily ever after." 
"Heureux pour toujours".
Goodness & kindness triumph over evil.
Balm for a troubled world! 

The story theme of Cinderella is almost 2,000 years old!!
In my own library I found a version of Cendrillon, 
based on Charles Perrault's interpretation. 
I copied text from it as a French language exercise.

 This book is interpreted by Marlene Jobert,
 illustrated by Matthieu Blanchin
 I saw an interactive exhibit at the Musée de la Civilisation 
in Québec in 2012 called Il était une fois, Once upon a time...
Children donned costumes & played fairy tale characters.
I was struck by the similarities of my Cendrillon sketches 
to those from my visit to that exhibit.
To visit my blog post of 8 years ago, called 
Children's Museum Exhibits & Language Learning, 
which featured "Il était une fois," 
Click Here.

(Thank you Leslie for sharing your love and knowledge
of opera!)


  1. Nice costumes but I like your drawings better than the illustrator's of the Jobert book..

  2. LOVE THESE!!! They really are extraordinary!!! Great job!!! Looks like heading to ME this year is out; we checked several campsites and all are closed to short-term rentals this year due to the virus ... very disappointing. Not sure where we can go when the virus threat lifts ... sigh ... (BTW, Spectrum is our internet provider, and it was out and too 2 days to be repaired ... thanks for asking!) Hugs!

  3. Your costume sketches are just fabulous. They remind me very much of the notecards I have bought in the gift shop at Stratford Festival in Canada of costume designs from the fest. I love the freedom of them and seeing the photos of the "real" thing. Your sketches move me far more than the ones from the book. I am in awe.

  4. I can only imagine how thrilled you were with the colors, costumes and french language performance.

  5. Ahhh, beautiful. I wonder if you ever wanted to be a costume designer. . . ? xx

  6. Thanks always for your kind comments. The online class is done on a weekly basis for 4 weeks with a special theme -- last month was flowers; this month is landscapes. Rae Andrews (on FB) is the instructor -- love her loose and expressive paintings ... She's a great instructor....

  7. What a great idea to sketch from the opera, and to combine the French text with your sketches. Not only is the result charming, that must be so great for your brain!


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