“Is that comfortable?” asked Madeleine Snow ’20, the stage director. Arianna Paz ’19, the lead actress in her blue Cinderella dress, agreed it was. Then she stepped into an unlit spot. “Oh man, we need to light that,” Snow said. A lighting designer, with the click of a few buttons, adjusted the beam. They all continued doggedly like this until Snow declared a lunch break. Then shortly after everyone cleared the Agassiz Theatre, a pair of technical directors stepped onstage, paintbrushes in hand, taking advantage of the moment to work on the set.
These are the meticulous preparations of the Harvard College Opera, the undergraduate-run company that has mounted a full-length show each February for more than 25 years. This year’s production is a six-show run of “Cendrillon,” French composer Jules Massenet’s 1899 adaptation of the classic Cinderella fairytale.
With opening night this Friday, the students have worked long hours since returning early from winter break, putting together the set, landing key notes, and stepping in wherever needed, often coming in on days when no work was scheduled.