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Three Wishes for Cinderella
(Tři oříšky pro Popelku)

How many times can a story be told and retold without losing its lustre?

The moving – and finally joyful – story of the young girl Cinderella who suffers from abuse and exploitation by her stepmother has become known in hundreds of versions and variations, among them literary adaptations by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault, stage works by Sergei Prokofiev, Gioachino Rossini, Jules Massenet and Peter Maxwell Davies, and two Walt Disney movies. But only a few adaptations distinguish themselves by adding a new soul to this beloved European folk tale.

This is the special feature of THREE WISHES FOR CINDERELLA by Václav Vorlícek. His screen adaptation makes you believe that the story is being told to you for the very first time. No wonder this movie left the deepest impression among central European film lovers. A coproduction of Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic, THREE WISHES FOR CINDERELLA influenced as many generations of German and central European audiences as did THE PRINCESS BRIDE and PEAU D’ÂNE in the United States and in France.

Now regarded as a European cult movie, THREE WISHES FOR CINDERELLA was shot on location in Prague and Dresden as well as in the famous Babelsberg film studios. Even today, many places are fondly remembered as ‘Cinderella locations’, for example Moritzburg Castle close to Dresden. Besides the splendid set design, the colourful costumes and the carefully arranged cinematography, music is the key element of this cineastic magic potion.

A substantial share of the film’s good-hearted fun relies on Karel Svoboda’s sweet and catchy film score. The music, with its dazzling instrumentation and its dancelike rhythms, adds greatly to the adventurous horse rides and the fancy balls at court. Finally, it is Karel Svoboda’s music that connects the character of Cinderella to an easily recognisable musical leitmotif; Cinderella and her charming tune seemingly become one.

Karel Svoboda’s original film score has been carefully reconstructed for this live-to-projection presentation. All original colours and musical nuances remain unchanged: the somewhat idiosyncratic wordless female vocals, the twinkling harpsichord arpeggios, the graceful melodies of the woodwinds, and the triumphant fanfares of the brass. Above all, the music creates a transparent lyrical mood that makes a truly innocent, yet compelling statement about the eternal quest for love, happiness and magic.


Karel Svoboda (Transcription/Arrangement: Antonín Mikulka, Stefan Behrisch)

  large orchestra (from 46 Musicians)    
1+1/soprec/alto+2soprec/ alto.2.1+1/sopsax.2 - - timp.3perc(drumset) - pno/cel + cemb - hp - str - mand.gtr. egtr.ebs - soprano solo (young girl)