Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

British composers

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Cinderella (1940-44) [146:00]
Cinderella – Elisha Willis; The Prince – Iain Mackay; Dumpy – Carol-Anne Millar; Skinny – Gaylene Cummerfield; The Fairy Godmother – Victoria Marr; The Wicked Stepmother – Marion Tait; Spring – Momoko Hirata; Summer – Lei Zhao; Autumn – Angela Paul; Winter – Delia Mathews; Prince’s retinue – Jamie Bond, Joseph Caley, Alexander Campbell, Mathias Dingman; Young Cinderella – Ella McPherson.
Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Koen Kessels
Birmingham Royal Ballet
Picture format: NTSC 16:9; LPCM/Dolby 5.1

Experience Classicsonline

At one time, three or four decades ago, Cinderella was naïvely regarded as a sort of children’s work, Prokofiev’s answer in the ballet world to Peter and the Wolf. But for all its ingratiating numbers and fairy-tale story, it’s a complex work, a mixture of fantasy, comedy, romance, desperation and, some on the other side of that once-formidable curtain used to argue, class warfare. You can dismiss the last rather laughable view, but all the other elements are there, and perhaps a little more. Today, we see this ballet as the ultimate triumph of the underdog, or as the defeat of bullies (which may be the other side of the same coin), or as liberation from one’s nemesis. Whatever. In the end, some children will actually like Cinderella but not quite the way they like Peter and The Wolf, with its usually friendly narrator, or The Nutcracker.

Australian ballerina Elisha Willis dances the role of Cinderella and Glasgow-born Iain Mackay portrays the Prince. Both are excellent. But they don’t steal the show—if anyone does, it’s Carol-Anne Millar as Dumpy. She is hilarious in most of her scenes, and while comedy in this fairy-tale love story should be thought of as a secondary element, one cannot help but stay focused on her antics whenever she’s on stage. She’s clad in an unflattering fat suit, which must be brutal to wear in a nearly two-hour ballet. At any rate, she has a deft comedic sense — a subtle slapstick sense too, if slapstick can ever be subtle. Marion Tait as the stepmother is evil in a very likeable way. It’s her acting more than her dancing - good as that is - that wins you over. As for the others, there isn’t a weak dancer in the cast.

The costumes are splendid in their regality and, in the case of Cinderella’s domestic wear, austere simplicity. The choreography of David Bintley is imaginative and fully engaging. The sets, by John Macfarlane, are brilliantly conceived. The Victorian basement kitchen where Cinderella cares for her cruel stepsisters is imposing as is its dank, yet cartoonish atmosphere. The grand ball has a bright yet, oxymoronically, dark atmosphere. When Dumpy and Skinny enter the ballroom the mood turns colorful and hilarious and bright. When Cinderella finally arrives it is festive, yet filled with passion and romance, and with foreboding. You want the sunlight to come in, but the clock strikes twelve, and … Well, you know the story.

The performance is not quite complete. The Third Act was pruned, as The Prince and the Cobblers, Oriental Dance and shorter numbers were cut. Oddly, the First Gallop was allocated to the Second Act here, when in fact it is the second number of the Third Act. But these are ultimately minor quibbles in an otherwise excellent offering.

It is indeed excellent, for while other Cinderellas by Rozhdestvensky, Ashkenazy, Previn and Pletnev may have featured slightly better orchestral playing, this one, with mostly moderate tempos, is largely competitive. Actually, I’m not sure that the rough-and-ready Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra played better for Rozhdestvensky, but they did play with commitment even if their brass was at times over-the-top. This effort, led by Belgian Koen Kessels, is intelligently conceived and well played, despite a few imprecisions. The sound and camera work are excellent, and from most other perspectives this Cinderella is an utterly first-rate production.

There are other video versions of Cinderella available from the Zurich Ballet, on Bel Air Classiques, the Paris Opera Ballet (also with Kessels conducting), on Opus Arte, and several more. The Paris version places the story in Hollywood - the Prince is a movie star and the Fairy Godmother a producer! - and thus some of the fairytale quality is lost. I haven’t seen the Zurich production, but suspect it might well be a worthy alternative. In any event, this Birmingham effort is a first-rate offering and more than merits your attention.

Robert Cummings


































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.