La Cenerentola

Giocchino Rossini

Following is a synopsis of La Cenerentola (Cinderella). Photos are from the scene production staged by BASOTI in San Francisco, CA during the summer of 2000. Clorinda, one of Cinderella's evil step-sisters, was sung by Elizabeth Harmetz.

While in Rome opening the production of The Barber of Seville Rossini contracted with a competing theater company, Teatro Valle, to put on a then unnamed opera buffa. The final subject of the opera, Cinderella, was not agreed upon until a month before opening night. Though it was based on Perraults famous fairy tale, Cendrillon, Rossini choose to downplay the magical elements of the story and created a unique interpretation. On January 25, 1817 the two-act comic opera opened in Rome. Charles-Guillaume Étiennes wrote a libretto more faithful to the original fairy tale for Nicholas Isouard's opera Cendrillon, which was staged in Paris in 1810.

Composer: Giocchino, Rossini
Librettist: Jacopo Ferretti
Source: Charles Perrault's fairy tale: Cendrillon, ou La petite pentoufle de verre.
Influences: Stefano Pavesi's opera: Agatina, o La virtù premiata.


Melodramma buffo in due atti

Cenerentola (Cinderella), whose given name is Angelina, is serving as the family maid for her step-father, Don Magnificent, and his two daughters Clorinda and Tisbe. While Cenerentola pays kindness to a beggar the sisters have sent away courtiers arrive and announce that the prince Don Ramiro is searching for the kingdoms most beautiful girl to be his wife. In the ruckus of the sisters demanding Cinderella fetch them more jewels the Baron is awoken from a fanciful dream of donkeys with wings. The prince’s visit is timely as the barons fortune is in as much disrepair as his mansion. He coaches his daughters to snare the prince. Cenerentola is left alone as the prince arrives disguised as his own valet. The prince and Cenerentola are mutually curious and Cenerentola reveals how she lost her mother and came to serve the household. As Cenerentola leaves to attend to her sister the baron enters and is told by the disguised Ramiro that the prince is arriving. The prince’s valet, Dandini arrives enthusiastically disguised as the prince to the fawning delight of Clorinda and Tisbe. Dandini invites them to a ball and the Baron reproaches Cenerentola and orders her to stay behind. This ill treatment doesn’t escape the notice of Prince Ramiro and the beggar. The beggar reads from a census and asks after the 3rd daughter of the house but Baron Magnifico claims she has passed away.

As the party leaves the Beggar reveals himself as Alidora to Cenerentola and invites her to the ball.

Dandini escapes from the two sisters and gets Magnificent drunk after which Magnificent is pronounced a royal wine counselor.

The princes tutor, Alidora, has said that one of the Barons daughters was a splendid person so Prince Ramiro is confused when Dandini speaks poorly of the two sisters. When Clorinda and Tisbe return Dandini offers Ramiro as an escort and the girls snub such a lowly person. Cenerentola arrives in wondrous costume, veiled and much cleaned up. Her presence causes confusion as all feel she is somehow familiar.

Magnificent reminds his daughters of their filial connection and worries over this new competitor. Prince Ramiro is entranced by the veiled girl and hides as Dandini escorts Cenerentola. Cenerentola denies Dandini's approaches and reveals her true love to be his groom. Prince Ramiro stops the departing Cenerentola and gives her a bracelet promising that he will find her.

While the prince starts the search for the mystery woman, Baron Magnifico demands that Dandini reveal which of his daughters he is going to marry. Dandini reveals himself to be the valet and orders the indignant Baron out of palace.

A thunderstorm rages outside as the morose and disappointed the Magnificos return to their house and order Cenerentola to prepare a meal. The prince’s carriage has overturned outside and as Cenerentola makes the prince comfortable they both recognize each other: She sees the groom and he sees the bracelet. The bitter step-sisters rail against the underhanded Cenerentola as she leaves the house with the prince.

Baron Magnifico entreats himself to the newly crowned princes but Cenerentola asks to be finally acknowledged as his daughter. From her kindness she asks the prince to forgive her family and the suitably humbled father and step sisters embrace

DON RAMIRO: Prince of Salerno (Tenor)
DANDINI: His valet (Baritone)
DON MAGNIFICO: Baron of Montefiascone, father of (Comedic)
CLORINDA: Cinderella's step-sister (Soprano)
TISBE: Cinderella's step-sister (Soprano)
ANGIOLINA: under the name of CENERENTOLA (Mezzo soprano)
ALIDORO: philosopher, master of Don Ramiro (Bass/Baritone)

Additional Persons: CHORUS and an unspeaking woman




No, no, no: non v'e
Una volta c'era un re
Un tantin di carita
O figlie amabili
Date lor mezzo scudo
Miei rampolli femminini
Sappiate che fra poco
Tutto e deserto
Una volta cera... Un soave non so che
Non so che dir
Scegli la sposa... Come un'ape
Signore, una parola
Si, tutto cangera
La del ciel nell'arcano profondo
Ma bravo, bravo, bravo
Ora sono da voi
Noi Don Magnifico
Finale 1 - Zitto, zitto: piano, piano
Finale 1 - Principino, dove siete?
Finale 1 - Venga, inoltri, avanzi il pie
Finale 1 - Ah! se velata ancor
Finale 1 - Signor...Altezza, e in tavola


mi par che quei birbanti
Sia qualunque delle figlie
Ah! questa bella incognita
Si, ritrovarla io giuro
Ma dunque io son un ex
Un segreto d'importanza
Una volta c'era un re
Ma ve l'avevo detto
Scusate, amici
Siete voi?
Ah, signor, se ver che in petto
Dunque noi siam burlate?
Finale 2 - Della Fortuna instabile
Finale 2 - Non piu mesta

Synopsis of La Cenerentola

(Images courtesy of and used with permission of BASOTI© 2000.)