Gioacchino Antonio Rossini

Cinderella
 

Rossini - La Cenerentola

Direction musicale : Claudio Abbado
Orchestre et chœurs du théâtre de la Scala (Milan)
Mise en scène et réalisation (1981) : Jean-Pierre Ponnelle

Don Ramiro, le prince : Francisco Araiza (ténor)
Dandini, son valet : Claudio Desderi (baryton)
Don Magnifico, baron : Paolo Montarsolo (basse)
Clorinda, sa fille : Margherita Guglielmi (soprano)
Tisbe, sa fille : Laura Zannini (soprano)
Angelina, dite Cenerentola, sa belle-fille : Frederica von Stade (mezzo-soprano)
Alidoro, précepteur du prince : Paul Plishka (basse)

Chœurs de domestiques, convives, courtisans : Chœurs du théâtre de la Scala
(dir. : Romano Gandolfi)

Perhaps if the opera had been written a hundred years earlier, it might have had a pumpkin changing into a coach, magically appearing and disappearing finery, and all the other delightful tricks of the fairy tale. At that time Italian opera houses had all the machinery to represent magic. But when Rossini started to write the music on Christmas Day of 1817, the Valle Theater of Rome was much more modestly equipped, and its manager concocted a simpler tale for the maestro. He was also in a great burry to have the opera, and so the composer did as be often did—borrow a few numbers from other operas he had already composed. The really delightful overture, for instance, he took from La Gazzetta, which he had composed for Naples only a few months earlier. He worked so fast - and so did the cast—that the first performance took place a month later. Perhaps for this reason it failed at first But it soon became a huge success and for many years ranked in popularity, among Rossini's works, next to The Barber and William Теll. But in the past fifty years or so it has seldom been given. Maybe because it takes singers who can sing even faster and more accurately than are required in The Barber, especially a coloratura contralto for the role of Cinderella. There aren't many of those around.

Roles

LA CENERENTOLA

(Cinderella)

by Gioacchino Rossini with by Jacopo Ferretti, based on
Opera in two acts libretto in Italian
Charles Guillaume Etienne's three-act French
libretto Cendrillon for operas by Niccol6
Isouard and Daniel Steibelt


 


Don Ramiro, Prince of Salerno
Dandini, his valet​
Alidoro, professiond philosopher serving the Prince 
Don Magnifico, Baron of Monte Fioscone​
Clorinda, his daughter
Thisbe, his daughter
Cinderella (whose real name is Angelina), Don Magnifico's stepdaughter


Time: unspecified, but the manners and customs are those of the 18th century
Place: Salerno
First performance at Rome, January 25, 1817

Characters

Ramiro:

 

Tenor. Prince of Salerno. Looking for a suitable wife, he swaps clothes with his valet—he wants to be loved for himself, not his position and wealth. Cenerentola falls in love with what she believes to be the valet but her stepfather wants one of his own daughters to marry the prince and excludes her from the royal ball, to which she is taken by Ramiro's tutor. She gives the ‘valet’ a bracelet, keeping its identical partner for herself. She leaves the ball and the Prince goes from house to house searching for her. He recognizes the servant Cenerentola (Cinderella) as the girl he loves, confirmed when their bracelets match. He and Cenerentola are married. Aria: Sì, ritrovarla io giuro (‘Yes, I swear to find her again’); duet (with Cenerentola): Un soave non so che (‘A sweet something’). Created (1817) by Giacomo Guglielmi.

Si ritrovarla io giuro - La Cenerentola - Juan Diego Florez

Dandini:

 

Bass. Valet to Prince Ramiro. He and the Prince swap clothes when visiting Cenerentola and her family, and she falls in love with the supposed valet (in reality the prince). Aria: Come un'ape (‘Like a bee’); duet (with Magnifico): Un segreto d'importanza (‘A secret of importance’). Created (1817) by Giuseppe de Begnis.

Rossini - Come un'ape ne' giorni d'aprile (La Cenerentola)

Alidoro:

 

Bass. Tutor to Prince Ramiro. A rather shadowy figure, he first arrives at Magnifico's home disguised as a beggar and Cenerentola is the only one who is kind to him. When she is left behind while the rest of the family go to the royal ball, Alidoro arrives and takes her to the ball. Aria: Là del ciel nell'arcano profondo (‘In the secret depths of Heaven’). Created (1817) by Zenobio Vitarelli.

Là del ciel nell'arcano profondo - Alidoro - La Cenerentola - Simón Orfila

Don Magnifico:

 

Bass. Father of Tisbe and Clorinda and stepfather of Cenerentola, whom he treats like a servant. He hopes to marry one of his daughters to the Prince and is astonished when the Prince falls in love with Cenerentola. Aria: Miei rampolli femminini (‘My female offspring’). Created (1817) by Andrea Verni.

Miei Rampolli Femminini - Alessandro Corbelli (La Cenerentola)

Angelina:

 

Contralto. Stepdaughter of Don Magnifico, known as Cenerentola (Cinderella). His daughters make her life a misery. The prince and his valet arrive at the house, having swapped clothes. Magnifico's daughters are introduced to the ‘prince’ (the valet in disguise) and invited to the royal ball. Cenerentola is attracted by the ‘valet’, but excluded from the invitation. When the rest of the family have departed, the prince's tutor arrives and escorts Cenerentola to the ball, where she creates a sensation and she and the ‘valet’ fall in love. But she has to leave at midnight. She gives the ‘valet’ a bracelet, keeping its identical partner herself. The real prince, by now in love with her, comes looking for her and they recognize each other and match up their bracelets. At their wedding, Cinderella asks the Prince to forgive her stepfather and stepsisters. Aria: Un a volta c'era un re (‘Once upon a time there was a king’); duet (with Ramiro): Un soave non so che (‘A sweet something’); aria with ens.: Non più mesta (‘No longer sad’). Created (1817) by Geltrude Righetti‐Giorgi.
 

Una volta c'era un re (La Cenerentola-Rossini) - Sonia Ganassi

Synopsis

ACT I
 

Scene 1 Any good contralto, however, could sing the quaint little ditty (Una volta c'era un re — "Once upon a time thеге was a king") with which she opens the opera as she cooks coffee for her two spoiled stepsisters, Clorinda and Thisbe. It is, appropriately enough, about a king who chose a poor little good girl for his bride instead of any of the high and mighty ones he might have had. Soon they have a visitor. He is Alidoro, the Prince's guide, philosopher, and friend, come in disguise as a beggar. When Cinderella treats him kindly and the sisters the opposite, he knows at least one piece of advice he can give his master.

Instead of a stepmother, as in the familiar story, Rossini supplies Cinderella with a stepfather. He is a pompous old 
fool; and though he is already rich, he would like to be still richer. Don Magnifico is his name; and immediately on his entrance he tells his daughters of a silly dream be had. He dreamed he was an ass, and a very wealthy ass, too. The aria (Miei rampolli femminini - "My feminine offspring") is much in the style of the Largo al factotum from The Barber of Seville.
 

 

When everyone finally leaves Cinderella alone to do the cleaning up, in comes the Prince. He is in disguise, and he is looking for a bride who will love him only for himself, not because be is a prince. Of course, he at once observes the attractive Cinderella working like a servant around the house. She, for her part, is so much startled at seeing a handsome young man that she lets a tray of dishes drop. At once they fall in love! Neither tells the other, of course, for that would end the story right there. Instead, they sing a charming duet together. It is interrupted at the end, for Cinderella's two unpleasant stepsisters call to her to serve them. But Prince Ramiro's heart has been captured—he does not know the girl's real name.

And when Cinderella has gone off to serve her sisters, enter still one other man in disguise. This is Dandini, the Prince's valet, who has changed clothes with his master. As he tries to pose as a prince (by misquoting Latin texts), Cinderella begs her stepfather to be allowed to go to the ball every girl is invited to. Naturally, her family unite in refusing the permission; but the act doses with Alidoro returning to promise our heroine help-just as the fairy godmother does in the fairy tale. All this gives Rossini a chance to write a wonderful concerted number to close the scene, complete with members of the Prince's court who come in for no better dramatic reason than to swell out the sound and make a mighty effective finale.

Scene 2 takes place in the palace, where everyone is urging Dandini (still disguised as the Prince) to choose his bride. And who should come in but Clorinda and Thisbe, Cinderella's very homely stepsisters? Both of them try to find favor with Dandini, for, of course, they think he is the Prince. He flees from them to another room, where he reports to his master. In a very quick and funny duet he tells him what hе thinks of these two girls. They are just terrible, be says. But the relentless girls come running after Dandini, and, to get rid of them, he explains that he can marry only one. The other he says, must marry his valet. That, of course, they cannot think of. The two men are laughing at the girls, when a mysterious lady is announced by Alidoro. The wise old philosopher has dressed up Cinderella beautifully and brought her to the palace. No one recognizes her, because she is masked; but everyone sees how beautiful she is, and all the court knows at once that this is the girl the Prince ought to marry. As they all sing about how they feel, the act closes with a wonderful chorus.

G. Rossini - La Cenerentola (Part 1)
Production and mis en scene: Cécile Roussat & Julien Lubeck

Annalisa Stroppa- Angelina (La Cenerentola)
Kenneth Traver- Ramiro
Miklos Sebastian- Don Magnifico
Christian Senn- Dandini
Ugo Guagliardo- Alidoro
Yael Levita- Clorinda
Anat Czarny- Tisbe

Israeli Opera Choir (Chorus master: Ethan Schmeisser)
Israeli Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion

ACT II
 

Scene 1 Only the two fatuous sisters do not share the sentiments of the final chorus in the first act. They think the stranger looks so much like Cinderella that the Prince could not possibly be in love with her. Rather, each thinks she herself is going to win the marital sweepstakes - and, accordingly, they quarrel. Meanwhile, Dandini himself has fallen in love with Cinderella. Still disguised as the Prince, he proposes to her; but she tells him she has fallen in love with his valet. The Prince overhears this admission and (still disguised, of course, as Dandini) comes forward to propose marriage. She admits that she loves him, as she said; but first he must find out who she is. She gives him a bracelet that matches one she is wearing, as a clue—a sort of counterpart to the slipper business in the familiar story. As for Don Magnifico, he is certain that one of his daughters, either Clorinda or Thisbe, will marry the Prince.
























The silly old fellow is beside himself with happiness. He imagines how powerful he will be, how everyone will be begging favors of him, and how he will kick them all out. All this he tells us in the aria Sia qualunque delle figlie—"Whichever of my daughters." But the old fool is in for a quick disappointment. He, like everyone else, thought that Dandini, 
the valet, was really the Prince, just because he was wearing princely clothes. Now Dandini comes in and tells the old baron who he really is. Don Magnifico is outraged—angry—hurt. But Dandini, having given up Cinderella, is only amused.
 

Scene 2 takes us back to the Don9s house. Cinderella repeats her little ballad about the king who chose a wife for her goodness only. For she still does not know that it is the Prince, disguised as his own servant who has fallen in love with her. A storm rages outside. (Rossini liked to write storm music, and this is an excellent example.) During it the Prince and Dandini, now each in his own costume, seek shelter; and Cinderella, trying to hide her face, lets the Prince see the bracelet on her аrm. He steps forward, and at last Cinderella learns that the man she loves is not a servant at all, but really Prince Ramiro. Ramiro takes her by the hand and says that she, and only she, shall be his bride. Her relatives—Don Magnifico, Clorinda, and Thisbe-are all shocked and horrified, and they will not speak to her. But finally Don Magnifico decides to ask Ramiro for forgiveness. The Prince wants to have nothing to do with him, but the good, kind Cinderella, in the brilliant rondo Nacqui all'affanno - "Born to sorrow" pleads for the relatives who had treated her so shabbily. The Prince gives in to his radiant bride, and the opera ends with everyone rejoicing—and everyone, living happily ever after. 

G. Rossini - La Cenerentola (Part 2)
Production and mis en scene: Cécile Roussat & Julien Lubeck

Annalisa Stroppa- Angelina (La Cenerentola)
Kenneth Traver- Ramiro
Miklos Sebastian- Don Magnifico
Christian Senn- Dandini
Ugo Guagliardo- Alidoro
Yael Levita- Clorinda
Anat Czarny- Tisbe

Israeli Opera Choir (Chorus master: Ethan Schmeisser)
Israeli Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion