- Rodney Milnes
Conte de fées in four acts by Jules Massenet to a libretto by Henri Cain after Charles Perrault’s fairy-tale of the same title (published in Contes de ma mère l’oye, 1698); Paris, Opéra-Comique (Salle Favart), 24 May 1899.
Preliminary plans for Cendrillon were apparently laid at the Cavendish Hotel, Jermyn Street (later made famous by its flamboyant proprietress Rosa Lewis), when Massenet and Cain were in London for the première of La Navarraise in 1894. The score was completed in 1896, but the première planned for the following year was postponed owing to the urgency of mounting Sapho before the imminent death of Alphonse Daudet and while Emma Calvé was available to sing it. Cendrillon followed in 1899 and was one of the first important premières in the regime of Albert Carré, who was appointed director of the Opéra-Comique after the death of Léon Carvalho in December 1897. (Before the dress rehearsal Carré persuaded Massenet to cut a Prologue in which the characters introduce themselves to the audience, but a brief epilogue in which they step out of character survives.)...