11-year-old composer debuts opera in Vienna

British composer Alma Deutscher, aged 11, debuted her first opera in Vienna on Thursday. The retelling of Cinderella won high praise and a standing ovation from the audience.

We reported earlier this year on Deutscher’s impressive career, noting comparisons that have been made between her and Mozart. Like the great 18th century composer, Deutscher’s first opera received its premier when she was 11.

Deutscher wrote her first piano sonata when she was 6 and she has already played piano and violin in numerous concerts. She featured on both instruments during the opera premier.

Her version of Cinderella is set in an opera house ruled by a wicked stepmother. Cinderella is the composer, who Deutscher describes as being a little like herself.

The opera was two-and-a-half hours long. Deutscher changed the story by replacing the traditional glass slipper with a melody that the prince has to search for. “I thought the prince having to ask whose foot would fit the slipper doesn’t make much sense. Lots of people might have the same sized foot, but only one person could have written that melody,” she said.

Deutscher has already won high praise from other musicians and conductors, including Sir Simon Rattle.

She began composing at the age of 4 and says many of her best melodies come to her while she is skipping.