Watch Your Radio 12/11/09: Cinderella and the Cranes

Below is the poster that announced the premiere of Jules Massenet’s opera Cendrillon at the Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique, Paris in 1899. The slippers at the bottom of the poster are golden, not glass. I can handle that. What perplexes me, though, is Cinderella’s interaction with cranes in the image. I imagine they are part of the French version of the fairy tale as mice are in the version familiar to the Disneyfied. But what’s she doing with that stick and why is one of the birds wearing pince nez spectacles? I’m digging around to try to learn more, but if you can tell me, please do so by leaving a comment below.
cinderella premiere poster.jpg

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2 Responses to Watch Your Radio 12/11/09: Cinderella and the Cranes

  1. Ann Dorsett says:

    My guess is that the poster relates more to the popularity of all things Japanese at the time (late 1800s – which also led to the Mikado (1885) and Madama Butterfly (1904)) than with the actual story. I do not recall any cranes in the french version of the story.

  2. Jennifer Foster says:

    Aha! Thank you, Ann. Japonisme. Seems you’re on to something there. (The French version of the tale I just read turns lizards into footmen, by the way.)

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