In January next year, Opera Victoria will present a new production of the children’s classic Cinderella, with relative newcomer Georgina Darvidis playing the title role. Based on the original story by Charles Perrault, with music composed and conducted by Richard Gill, it promises to delight children and adults alike.
Darvidis got the part after playing Flora in the Opera Victoria production of The Turn of the Screw last year. Derek Taylor, who’s directing Cinderella, saw her performance of Flora and emailed her, offering the title role.
“I didn’t really believe it when I got the email, but I didn’t know how the process worked,” she explains. “I didn’t tell anyone for a couple of days just in case I was mistaken. But I was quietly excited.”
It’s a big step up. After doing years 11 and 12 at the VCA secondary school, she recently completed a Bachelor of Music. Moving into this production and playing the starring role must be quite daunting.
“Yeah, I’m pretty much out of my comfort zone. I know Richard a bit from The Turn of the Screw but I don’t think I’ve worked with any of the other performers before. Everyone around me has these amazing professional sounding voices and I’m kind of learning as I go.”
Rehearsals have only just started; in fact the first day was her birthday, and it proved to be a good way of breaking the ice.
“I walked in and Richard was playing happy birthday to me. I don’t think anyone actually knew my name at that stage so it was a lovely way to start.”
This production of Cinderella has all the hallmarks of classic pantomime: the ugly sisters will be played by a pair of male performers, while the role of Prince Charming goes to Roxanne Hislop. All the same, Darvidis sees it as a cross between pantomime and opera.
“They didn’t really want me to be over the top and operatic because Cinderella is quite young, so I’m kind of approaching it more as pantomime. But the cast are well established opera singers so it does sound like opera, it’s very dramatic and very playful.”
Although rehearsals have just started, Cinderella is a part she knows well. Her mother performed the role for ten years or more when she was growing up, and as a girl, Darvidis often accompanied her on tour with the show.
“You know when you go back to school, and you have to write about what you did on your holidays – I wrote that I saw Cinderella 32 times.”
Darvidis’ father is also musical, a guitarist and singer/songwriter, so it’s no surprise that she’s chosen the path she has. He was born here to parents who migrated from Greece. She doesn’t think it will be too hard to get them to come and see the show.
“This will be the biggest role I’ve performed so I think it’s going to be incredible. And if they see this article in the paper, they’ll go nuts, and they’ll have to come along.”
Cinderella is on at her Majesty’s Theatre from 25-28 January, 2012. Tickets from ticketek.com.au