Two months ago, the Metropolitan Opera produced its first opera composed by a woman in over 100 years. Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin opened to rave reviews. Several weeks later, an opera house in Vienna went a step further producing a new opera penned by an 11-year-old girl. The 300 seat Casino Baumgarten Theater staged the opera, Cinderella, by British wunderkind Alma Deutscher.
In an interview with CBS News Deutscher says she was two when she fell in love with music after hearing a lullaby by Richard Strauss. “I asked my parents, ‘how can music be so beautiful?” She continued, “Then I started having ideas of my own.” Deutscher, an accomplished violinist and pianist, has been composing since she was four years old. Other works include a piano sonata written when she was six and another shorter opera called The Sweeper of Dreams composed at just seven.
Deutscher changed one popular theme in her version of Cinderella, replacing the iconic glass slipper with a musical melody. She told The Guardian it doesn’t make sense for the prince to search for the foot that fit the slipper. “Lots of people might have the same sized foot,” the young melody maker explained, “but only one person could have written that melody.” In Deutscher’s retelling of the fairy tale, Cinderella is a composer living in an opera house where her wicked step-mother is the director.
Some have taken to calling the young Deutscher, “Little Miss Mozart.” She says she doesn’t necessarily like the moniker because as she told The Guardian, she’s very big and if she wrote what Mozart wrote people would be bored.
Deutscher has released the first video from the Casino Baumgarten production of Cinderella. The title character, performed by soprano Theresa Krügl, is seen here singing “When the day falls into darkness.” In the Act 1 aria, Cinderella realizes that she is alone in the world and that her stepmother hates her. According to the video’s description, this is the melody the prince uses to find Cinderella.