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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2005, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Cinderella brothel ballet banned
Sergei Prokofiev
Prokofiev originally composed the Cinderella ballet in the 1940s
An opera company has been banned from performing Sergei Prokofiev's Cinderella after setting the classic children's story in a brothel.

The Latvian National Opera performed its Cinderella ballet only twice, after complaints from Prokofiev's estate.

"There was a huge gap between the original music and the new story," said Noelle Mann, curator of the Sergei Prokofiev Archive.

But the opera company said it was "a very beautiful and sincere story".

Based on the classic fairytale, Prokofiev wrote the ballet Cinderella in the 1940s.

The new Latvian National Opera (LNO) adaptation was performed in Riga before being cancelled.

It set the story in a brothel, with Cinderella working as a maid, her step-sisters as call girls and her stepmother as the brothel madam.

His family is seriously annoyed by the fact that the LNO had not asked for authorisation
Noelle Mann, Sergei Prokofiev Archive curator
Ms Mann said the company failed to ask the Sergei Prokofiev Foundation, which represents the composer's estate, for permission to use his music.

"His family is seriously annoyed by the fact that the LNO had not asked for authorisation, which is a legal requirement," she said.

"They only found out about the opera by accident on the internet. New productions are using unauthorised Prokofiev work far too often."

'New vision'

She added that the composer originally wrote the Cinderella ballet "with a storyline in mind".

"When a new production goes that far from the original there is a huge gap between the music and story," Ms Mann added.

"Prokofiev's family feels very strongly that if you are going to present a new storyline, you should employ one of the many talented new composers to write new music for you."

An LNO spokeswoman said: "LNO respects the opinion of the Prokofiev Foundation, therefore considering the situation booking of tickets for the future performances will not be taking place until an agreement is going to be achieved.

"The management of the LNO is willing to continue the dialogue with the Prokofiev Foundation to find a compromise in this situation so that the audience is not deprived of seeing this beautiful ballet again."

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