The kind-hearted Angelina (Cinderella) is shunned by her two stepsisters and her stepfather. Much to their surprise, she finds true love in Dandini who is in fact Prince Ramiro disguised as a valet.
La cenerentola follows the story of a young woman who is forced to act as a servant to her mean stepfather and ungrateful stepsisters. Prince Ramiro is going house to house to find the most beautiful woman for his wife. Prince Ramiro disguises himself as his valet and enters to house to observe the family. Immediately charmed by Cenerentola, he does not notice the stepsisters.
At the ball, while Dandini, disguised as the Prince, is surrounded by the stepsisters, Prince Ramiro is once again taken by Cenerentola, who enters the ball veiled. She gives the Prince a bracelet and instructs him to find her. The Prince immediately calls his men together to track down this beautiful mystery women.
Finally, the Prince finds Cenerentola at her home, back in servant’s clothes. Cenerentola leaves with the Prince and becomes the new Princess. Even though her family has been cruel, she forgives them and finds happiness with her new husband.
Opera in 2 acts
Sung in Italian
About 2 hours 40 min + interval
Salermo, Italy, around 1800
Angelina, known to her stepfather and stepsisters as "Cenerentola", is forced to serve as the maid in her own home. She sings of a king who married a common girl ("Una volta c’era un rè"). A beggar arrives; her stepsisters, Clorinda and Tisbe, want to send him away, but Cenerentola gives him bread and coffee. Courtiers follow, announcing that Prince Ramiro will come to visit while he searches for the most beautiful girl in the land to wed. Cenerentola's stepfather, Don Magnifico, hopes to use this as an opportunity to save his own failing fortune.
When the room is empty, Ramiro enters alone, disguised as a valet. The "beggar" - in fact, his tutor, Alidoro - has informed him of a goodhearted young woman spotted here. Ramiro intends to find her incognito. Cenerentola returns, and she and Ramiro are attracted to each other (duet: "Un soave non so che"), but when he asks who she is, she's overwhelmed and flees.
Finally, the "prince" arrives — the real valet, Dandini, who has taken his master's place - and Magnifico, Clorinda, and Tisbe fall over themselves to flatter him. He invites the family to a ball that evening, where he plans to find his bride; Cenerentola asks to join them, but Magnifico refuses (quintet: "Signor, una parola"). This callousness isn't lost on Ramiro. Alidoro, still in his rags, returns to inquire after a third daughter in the house; Magnifico claims she has died. Left alone with Cenerentola, Alidoro promises to take her to the ball himself, and that God will reward her kindness ("Là del ciel nell’arcano profondo").
The prince and his valet have retired to Ramiro's country house in some confusion, as neither of Magnifico’s daughters resembled the worthy bride Alidoro had described. When Clorinda and Tisbe arrive, Dandini gives them a little test: he offers his "valet" to whichever sister the "prince" does not marry. The ladies are outraged at the idea of marrying a servant. Alidoro then arrives with a beautiful, unknown lady who strangely resembles Cenerentola. Unable to make sense of the situation, they all sit down to supper, feeling as if they are in a dream.
Magnifico frets over the competition his daughters now face from the strange lady ("Sia qualunque delle figlie"), but Cenerentola isn't interested in the "prince," saying she's fallen in love with his servant. An overjoyed Ramiro steps forward; however, Cenerentola tells him that she's going home and doesn’t want him to follow her. If he really cares for her, she says, he will find her. The prince determines to do exactly that ("Sì, ritrovarla io giuro").
Meanwhile, Magnifico confronts the disguised Dandini, insisting that he choose one of his daughters to marry. Dandini tries to stall, but is forced to admit that he's actually the valet and not the prince at all (duet: "Un segreto d’importanza").
A furious Magnifico and his daughters return home, where they order Cenerentola, back in rags, to serve them. A storm is thundering outside. Alidoro sabotages Ramiro’s carriage so that it breaks down in front of Magnifico’s manor, forcing the prince to take refuge within. Cenerentola and Ramiro recognize each other; the others comment on the situation (sextet: "Siete voi?"). When Ramiro threatens Cenerentola's recalcitrant family, she asks him to forgive them.
Ramiro and Cenerentola are married, and celebrate their wedding at the palace. Magnifico tries to win the favor of the new princess, but she asks only to be acknowledged, at last, as his daughter. She reflects on the misfortune to which she was born and the sudden reversal of her fate, then forgives her family for all her past unhappiness, adding that her days of sitting sadly by the fire are over ("Nacqui all'affanno... Non più mesta"). Everyone present acknowledges that she truly is worthy of the throne.
Angelina - Contralto, Mezzo-soprano (lyric)
Don Ramiro - Tenor (leggiero)
Prince of Salermo
Dandini - Baritone, Bass-baritone (lyric)
The valet of Don ramiro
Don Magnifico - Bass (buffo)
Baron of Montefiascone and Cenerentola's stepfather
Alidoro - Bass (lyric)
Philosopher and the Prince's former tutor
Clorinda - Soprano (lyric, soubrette)
Don Magnifico's elder daughter
Tisbe – Mezzo-soprano (lyric)
Don Magnifico's younger daughter
Place of birth: Pesaro, Italy
place of death: Paris, France
Gioachino Rossini was an Italian composer known for shaping the style of Bel canto together with Bellini and Donizetti. He was born in Pesaro in a musical family and started music school in Bologna at the age of 12. His father was a trumpeter and his mother was a singer. During his career he wrote 39 operas, sacred music, chamber music, piano pieces and songs.
Rossini married the singer Isabella Colbran in 1822. It was a difficult marriage. Rossini wrote many roles for her, but her voice gradually declined and she was forced to retire. It put a strain on their relationship. They lived separately from 1830 when Rossini met Olympe Pélissier who was to become his future wife. In 1835 Rossini and Colbran officially divorced and 10 years later he married Pélissier who was his wife until his death. Rossini died in Paris after an unsuccessful operation to treat colorectal cancer at the age of 76.
Rossini was a very productive composer, writing on an average 2 operas per year for 19 years. However, for the last 40 years of his life he didn’t compose a single opera. It’s unknown why he stopped, but perhaps his declining health or financial security thanks to earlier successes gives us a clue. His most popular opera is Il barbiere di Siviglia, one of his many comic operas.
"Give me a laundry-list and I'll set it to music."
He was a celebrity during his lifetime. He suffered from insomnia. He met with Beethoven in 1822.
Most prominent operas
The libretto was written by Jacopo Ferretti, based on the librettos written by Charles-Guillaume Étienne for the opera Cendrillon (Isouard), with music by Nicolas Isouard (first performed Paris, 1810) and by Francesco Fiorini for Agatina o La virtù premiata, with music by Stefano Pavesi (first performed Milan, 1814). All these operas are versions of the fairy tale Cendrillon by Charles Perrault.
2, 2, 2, 2 - 2, 2, 1, 0
timp, perc, strings
La cenerentola premiered at Teatro Valle in Rome in 1817. Rossini wrote the opera in a period of three weeks.
Today it is one of the top 30 most performed operas worldwide.
Aria - Miei rampolli femminini (Magnifico)
Aria – Una volta c'era un re (Angelina)
Duet – Un soave non so che (Ramiro, Angelina)
Aria - Là del ciel nell'arcano profondo (Alidoro)
Aria - Si ritrovarla io giuro (Ramiro)
Aria – Nacqui all'affanno... Non più mesta (Angelina)