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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

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J. Massenet’s “Cendrillon” J. Massenet’s “Cendrillon”

Professor Emerita Returns to SDSU to Direct Opera

Paula Kalustian takes the reins of J. Massenet’s “Cendrillon.”
By Teresa Monaco

Professor emeritus Paula Kalustian has found her way back to SDSU on several occasions since her retirement in 2015. 

She returned to campus during the fall of 2015 to direct "Into the Woods" and again in spring 2017 to play a feature role in "The Full Monty."

“So here I am again,” Kalustian said, “This time stepping in to direct and produce Massenet’s 'Cendrillon' for the School of Music and Dance.” 

"Cendrillon" is a French opera based on Charles Perrault’s version of the classic Cinderella fairy tale. The production will be complete with all the characters audiences know and love: a prince charming, wicked stepmother, fairy godmother and plenty of other magical creatures. 

A change of pace

Prior to her appointment at SDSU in 1989, Kalustian had a vibrant career teaching at the university level, as well as freelance directing and choreographing both on Broadway and around the country. She served as the director of SDSU’s acclaimed MFA in Musical Theatre program for 26 years.

This project differs from Kalustian’s prior work.
“I am a music theatre artist,” said Kalustian. “I have directed plays and opera before, but my love is, and always will be, the unique American art form of musical theatre. Although opera and music theatre sometimes share stories, themes and many other elements, they are very different.” 

Student perspectives

Working with someone with Kalustian’s wealth of experience has been a valuable opportunity for vocal music students. 

“I can honestly say that 'Cendrillon' has been the most fun I have had in any show I’ve done at SDSU,” said Lauren Cernik-Price, an SDSU vocal performance major. “We are definitely being prepared for the real world—I couldn’t ask for more.”

An enchanted production

With its classic and familiar story, "Cendrillon" is a great introduction to opera for those unfamiliar with the genre. Watch SDSU’s opera students bring Cinderella’s story to life November 17-19 at Smith Recital Hall. For tickets and information, visit