Opera Scotland

Cenerentola La Cenerentola; Cinderella

Music
Gioachino Rossini (born Pesaro, 29 February 1792; died Paris, 13 November 1868)

Text
Jacopo Ferretti

Source
Derived from adaptations of a French tale, Cendrillon (1697), by Charles Perrault (1628-1703).

Premières
First performance: Rome (Teatro Valle), 25 January 1817.
First UK performance: London (King’s Theatre, Haymarket), 8 January 1820.
First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Theatre Royal), 7 February 1831.
Scottish Opera première: Edinburgh (King’s Theatre), 5 December 1969.

Background
La Cenerentola was composed hurriedly to fulfil a commission in Rome when the planned work fell through due to problems with censorship. It has been second only to The Barber of Seville in popularity among Rossini’s operas. Some commentators have expressed a marked preference for it even over The Barber, citing a greater sense of humanity they detect in it. This may reflect a greater difficulty in performing The Barber to make its characters three-dimensional. For whatever reason, the opera director Colin Graham tackled Cinderella twice, with Scottish Opera and then English Music Theatre (taken over by ENO) within a short space, without touching The Barber of Seville. The great humanity of this opera arises partly from the fact that, unlike the familiar pantomime story, there is no element of the supernatural – no fairy godmother, no pumpkins or animals turning into coaches or coachmen. It is a human comedy.

Characters
Don Magnifico, Baron of Montefiasco (bass)
Clorinda, his daughter (soprano)
Tisbe, his second daughter (mezzo-soprano)
Angelina, his stepdaughter, known as “Cinderella” (mezzo-soprano)
Alidoro, Ramiro’s tutor (bass)
Don Ramiro, Prince of Salerno (tenor)
Dandini, Ramiro’s valet (baritone)

Plot Summary
At Don Magnifico’s mansion, which has clearly seen better days, Cinderella is treated as a servant by her relations. Alidoro arrives, dressed as a beggar, and she gives him food, though the sisters have ordered his expulsion. He is aware from his state records that there should be three daughters. Ramiro’s friends enter to announce that a ball is to be held at which he will choose a bride. After Alidoro and the friends have left, Ramiro enters, impersonating his own valet, and he and Cinderella fall in love. The Prince arrives, (Dandini in disguise), and he is fawned over by Magnifico and his daughters. Cinderella is prevented from going to the ball, and Don Magnifico announces that the third daughter is dead. Alidoro tells her who he is and that all will be well.

At the palace, the sisters continue their attempts to snare Dandini. Magnifico is more interested in exploring the wine cellars. They are briefly jealous due to the arrival of a mystery lady, but she looks too like Cinderella to be a serious threat, so they relax. Dandini proposes to Cinderella, but is turned down because Cinderella loves ‘his valet’. Having overheard this, the Prince now proposes and is given one of a pair of bracelets – he must find who she is before she will agree to marry him. Back at the mansion, Magnifico and his girls are surprised by the arrival of Dandini and the Prince. At last the missing bracelet and its owner are identified and all ends happily, with Cinderella asking for her relations to be forgiven for their behaviour.

The Cast

Alidoro
 Ramiro's tutor, a philosopher
Angelina
 known as Cinderella, Magnifico's stepdaughter
Clorinda
 daughter of Don Magnifico
Dandini
 the Prince's valet
Don Magnifico
 Baron of Montefiascone
Don Ramiro
 Prince of Salerno
Tisbe
 Clorinda's sister

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