Opera by Gioachino Rossini
On 04.11.2015g. Sofia Opera and Ballet guest in Craiova, Romania – opera “LA CENERENTOLA” by Gioachino Rossini
“La Cenerentola, ossia La bontà in trionfo” (“Cinderella, or Goodness Triumphant”) is an operatic drama giocoso in two acts by Gioachino Rossini. The libretto was written by Jacopo Ferretti and was drawn on the fairy tale of the same name by Charles Perrault.
The opera’s first performance was on 25 January 1817 at “Teatro Valle” in Rome.
Rossini was 25 years old when he wrote “La Cenerentola”, but he had already behind him a succession of opera masterpieces as “Il barbiere di Siviglia”, “Tancredi”, “L’italiana in Algeri” and others.
The opera “La Cenerentola” is considered to be one of the finest writing for solo voice and ensemble. Because of the usual lack of time, method, terms and tempo of composing, the entire opera was completed in three weeks. For that reason Rossini uses in it the overture from “La gazzetta”, an opera buffo written several years before, as well as a part of an aria from “Il barbiere di Siviglia”. Some help Rossini received by Luca Agolini, who composed the “dry” recitatives, as well as three other extracts – of Alidoro, Clorinda and the chorus scene “Ah, della bella incognita”. Rossini changed and added different scenes and numbers in some cases on next productions, as these in 1818 and 1820.
The overture of the opera “La Cenerentola” has been often performed in concert programmes and is a part of the “standard” orchestra repertoire since its very composition, together with most of Rossini’s overtures.
The first performance was received with some hostility, but soon it gained great popularity in Italy and in other countries in Europe, among which Lisbon /1819/, London /1820/, New York /1826/. Practically, in the whole 19th century its popularity rivalled that of “Il barbiere di Siviglia”, but because of the exceptional vocal requirements and the difficulties in the contralto part, as it was originally written, it fell slowly out of the repertoire and became rare.
In the 60s of the 20th century Rossini’s music enjoyed a real renaissance. The new generation mezzo-sopranos and contraltos regained the popularity of “La Cenerentola” and it has been again on stage.
There were also some changes in the fairy tale itself, mainly because of Rossini’s choice for the visible realistic resolutions, and not for magic, as it is in the original, due to the obvious limitations and lack of “special effects” of his time.
In the last decades, there were made many recordings of the opera, and in the standard list of most performed operas it holds number 28 among several hundred titles of the active opera repertoire!
The forthcoming spectacle of the opera “La Cenerentola” on the stage of Sofia Opera and Ballet is in rehearsal process under the direction by Vera Petrova.
DON RAMIRO – Georgi Sultanov, Miloš Bulajić, Hrisimir Damyanov
DANDINI – Alek Avedissian, Atanas Mladenov, Svilen Nikolov
DON MAGNIFICO – Nikolay Petrov, Orlin Nevenkin
CLORINDA – Bilyana Traykovska, Irina Zhekova, Milena Gyurova
TISBE – Blagovesta Mekki-Tsvetkova, Raya Nacheva, Yuliana Ivanova
ANGELINA /LA CENERENTOLA / – Maria Jinga, Oana Andra, Petya Petrova
ALIDORO – Evgeniy Stanchev, Kostadin Mechkov, Martin Tsonev
Conductor GRIGOR PALIKAROV
Director VERA PETROVA
Set Designer BORYANA ANGELOVA
Costume Designer HRISTIANA MIHALEVA-ZORBALIEVA
Plastic and Choreography MARIA LUKANOVA
Chorus Master VIOLETA DIMITROVA
Artistic Lightning Andrey Haydinyak
Assistant Stage Director Rositsa Kostova
Stage Managers Vera Beleva, Rositsa Kostova, Maria Pavlova
Répétiteurs: Ivaylo Ivanov, Milen Stanev, Pelagia Cherneva, Svetlana Ananievska
In this variation of the traditional Cinderella story, the wicked stepmother is replaced by a wicked stepfather, Don Magnifico. The Fairy Godmother is replaced by Alidoro, a philosopher and the Prince’s tutor. Cinderella is identified not by her glass slipper but by her bracelet.
- Time: Late 18th century – early 19th century
- Place: Italy
Angelina (“Cenerentola”) is forced to work as the maid in the run-down house of her stepfather Don Magnifico. While his two mean, idle daughters, Clorinda and Tisbe, try on their gowns and jewelry, Cenerentola sings a ballad about a king who found his wife among common folk. A beggar comes calling. Clorinda and Tisbe want to send him away, but Cenerentola offers him bread and coffee. Courtiers arrive to announce that Prince Ramiro is looking for the most beautiful girl in the land to be his bride, and is on his way to pay them a visit. Prince Ramiro arrives, disguised as his own valet in order to observe the women without them knowing. He is immediately struck with admiration for Cenerentola and she for him. Cenerentola has to leave when her stepsisters call her. Don Magnifico enters and Ramiro tells him the Prince will arrive shortly.
The “prince” is actually Dandini, Ramiro’s valet in disguise. The stepsisters arrive and fawn gleefully over Dandini, who invites them to a ball at the Royal palace. Don Magnifico tells Cenerentola that she cannot accompany them to the ball, despite her pleading. Before leaving, Ramiro notices how badly Cenerentola is treated. His tutor, Alidoro, who had been at the house earlier disguised as the beggar, arrives still wearing his rags and asks for Don Magnifico’s third daughter. Magnifico denies she is still alive, but when Alidoro is left alone with Cenerentola, he tells her that she will accompany him to the ball. He throws off his beggar’s clothes and identifies himself as a member of Prince Ramiro’s court, telling her that heaven will reward her pure heart.
The stepsisters and Don Magnifico arrive at Prince Ramiro’s palace, with Dandini still posing as the Prince. Dandini offers Magnifico a tour of the wine cellar, hoping to get him drunk. He then disentangles himself from the family and tells Ramiro how stupid and obnoxious the two sisters are. Ramiro is confused since Alidoro had spoken well of one of Magnifico’s daughters. Clorinda and Tisbe enter and impatiently pressure Dandini to declare his “princely” choice. Without committing himself, Dandini ponders the question “Whom will the rejected sister marry?” and suggests Ramiro as a possible husband. Believing him to be a mere valet, the two sisters reject Ramiro as a despicable choice and insult him to his face. Alidoro announces the arrival of an unknown, lavishly dressed yet veiled, lady (Cenerentola). All sense something familiar about her and feel they are in a dream but on the verge of being awakened with a shock.
Don Magnifico, Clorinda, and Tisbe are in a room of Ramiro’s palace. Magnifico frets over the unknown woman who threatens the chance for one of his daughters to marry Prince Ramiro. The three leave and Ramiro enters, smitten with the unknown woman who resembles the girl he had met that morning. He conceals himself as Dandini arrives with Cenerentola and tries to court her. She turns Dandini down politely, telling him that she is in love with his valet. Ramiro steps forth and declares his love for her. She then leaves giving him one of a pair of matching bracelets and saying that if he really cares for her, he will find her. Encouraged by Alidoro, Ramiro calls his men together to begin searching for her. Meanwhile, Dandini confesses to Don Magnifico that he is really Prince Ramiro’s valet. Magnifico becomes highly indignant, and Dandini orders him out of the palace.
At Magnifico’s house, Cenerentola, once again dressed in rags, is tending the fire and singing her ballad. Magnifico and his daughters return from the ball in a vile mood, and order Cenerentola to prepare their supper. A thunderstorm rages. Dandini suddenly appears at the door to say that Prince Ramiro’s carriage has overturned outside and brings him into the house. Cenerentola fetches a chair for the prince and realizes he is Ramiro. He recognizes her bracelet and the couple are reunited. Don Magnifico, Clorinda and Tisbe are furious. Angered by their cruelty to Cenerentola, Ramiro threatens to punish them, but Cenerentola asks him to be merciful. As Cenerentola leaves with her prince, Alidoro thanks heaven for the happy outcome.
In the throne room of Ramiro’s palace, Magnifico tries to curry favor with his stepdaughter, the new princess, but she only wants to be acknowledged as his daughter. Cenerentola asks the prince to forgive Magnifico and the two stepsisters. Her father and stepsisters embrace her as she declares that her days of toiling by the fire are over.