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La Cenerentola

Gioacchino Rossini 1792-1868

Dramma giocoso in two acts
Libretto by Jacopo Ferretti
First performed January 25 1817, Teatro della Valle, Rome
(premiere of this production: June 20 2004)

Sung in Italian with English & German surtitles
ca. 3 hours, including 1 interval
an introductory talk, in German, begins in the upstairs foyer 30 minutes before every performance  

Conductor Vlad Iftinca
Angelina Julia Dawson / Nina Tarandek
Clorinda Louise Alder
Tisbe Maria Pantiukhova
Don Ramiro Martin Mitterrutzner
Don Magnifico Mikheil Kiria
Dandini Iurii Samoilov / Björn Bürger
Alidoro Thomas Faulkner

Don Magnifico has two vain, selfish daughters, Clorinda and Tisbe, who treat their step-sister, Angelina (La Cenerentola), like dirt. They expect her to wait on them hand and foot. Prince Ramiro is looking for a wife and his teacher, the magician Alidoro, wants to help him to find the right one. Alidoro, disguised as a beggar, calls at the Baron’s home and is treated rudely by the hard-hearted sisters who are disgusted by him. Good and gentle Angelina, however, greets him kindly. Courtiers arrive with an invitation for the Baron's daughters to a ball. Clorinda and Tisbe are very excited and both feel sure that they are bound to be chosen by Prince Ramiro. The Prince, disguised as his valet Dandini, arrives and meets Angelina - they are immediately drawn to each other. Dandini enters, disguised as the Prince, and Ramiro is amused to see the Baron and his shallow daughters grovel before him. Angelina begs her father to allow her to go to the ball, but he refuses. Alidoro, who now reveals himself to be a confidant of the Prince, sees from his register that the Baron has three daughters and asks where the third one is. Magnifico says she is dead. When the others have all left Angelina is comforted by Alidoro, who gives her two matching bracelets and a gown - she shall go the ball after all! The courtiers make fun of Don Magnifico, who has had a lot to drink. Clorinda and Tisbe try to attract the Prince’s attention. The arrival of a stranger is announced and Angelina enters the ball - a veiled, mysterious beauty. Her family are astonished at how much she resembles Angelina. Act II Don Magnifico has debts and so desperately hopes that one of this daughters will marry a wealthy man. The supposed Prince tries to woo the unknown beauty but she tells him that she cannot return his affections because she loves his valet. Ramiro, who was listening, immediately offers his hand in marriage. Wise Alidoro intervenes: Ramiro should see Angelina and learn to love her in her true guise. Angelina gives Ramiro one of her bracelets, so that they might know each other again, and leaves. Clorinda and Tisbe try their luck again with the Prince who says that he cannot marry both of them but that the other sister could marry his valet - they are both horrified by the idea. The Prince and valet take on their own identities again: Magnifico and his daughters, furious about this deception, leave the castle. Ramiro wants to set off immediately to try and find his love. Alidoro conjures up a storm, causing the Prince to seek refuge in the Baron’s house. Ramiro recognizes the bracelet on Angelina’s wrist and asks her to be his wife. Angelina forgives her father and step-sisters.

Every one knows the story about the poor girl, Cinderella, Cendrillon or Cenerentola, who is forced to work for her horrible sisters and is starved of love in her own home but who ends up marrying the son of a king, who fell in love with her inner beauty. While a shoe reunites the prince with his lost love in the fairy tales by the brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault, the story is slighly different in Rossini's melodramma giocoso. Angelina (Cenerentola) has fallen for the supposed servant of the prince, without knowing who he really is. A gold bracelet (and wise Alidoro) brings the couple together in the end, putting the nasty sisters in their place. La Cenerentola, which Rossini composed a year after Barbiere, is a masterpiece full of bubbling coloratura, with perfectly balanced comedy and sentimentality. In Keith Warner's wonderful production Angelina – one of the most beautiful coloratura mezzo-soprano roles there is – dreams on in a fantastic, playful world in which everything is a little topsy-turvy. She finds herself in a wonderland, like Alice, suffers disappointments, carries off transformations and, in the end, finds happiness.