North Park University to stage opera “Cendrillon” at Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago

April 20, 2018

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CHICAGO, April 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — North Park University’s music department will perform “Cendrillon,” a French-language retelling of Cinderella, at the historic Athenaeum Theatre next weekend in an epic production involving 40 students and intricate stagecraft.

“Cinderella is a wonderful story about authentic love,” said Nyela Basney, North Park’s Artistic Director of Opera. “And the Athenaeum provides a wonderful proscenium stage with excellent acoustics.”

  • Performances take place Friday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 29 at 2 p.m.
  • The opera will be performed in French with English supertitles.
  • This is the first time NPU has staged an opera at a professional theatre.
  • Visit for additional event information.

On a proscenium stage, an overhead arch serves as a type of “frame” for the performers. English supertitles will appear above the stage during the production. The Athenaeum is also very well-suited acoustically for younger voices, allowing the student performers to easily project their voices in the space.

The production will feature both undergraduate and graduate students in North Park’s opera program, which is widely considered among the top Chicago-area schools for opera.

Basney promised “a wonderful surprise” when Cinderella undergoes her magical transformation at the hands of her Fairy Godmother. The feat involves stagecraft, visual tricks, and projections.

“It’s a magical moment,” Basney said.

Janese Pentico, the graduate student who plays Cinderella, said this version of the classic fairy tale is especially unique because it keeps Cinderella’s father in the picture, and the opera spends time exploring their relationship. Her favorite part is when Cinderella and Prince Charming meet for the second time, and sing a duet.

“It’s the most beautiful music and scene in the whole opera,” Pentico said.

Cendrillon was written by composer Jules Massenet. North Park’s production is being directed by Susan Payne. Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 seniors, $5 students with ID, and North Park students free with ID. Tickets can be purchased through or by calling 773-935-6875.


North Park University is a city-centered, intercultural, and Christian university located in Chicago.

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SOURCE North Park University

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