Cinderella

Synopsis

In this variation of the fairy tale, the wicked stepmother is replaced by a stepfather, Don Magnifico. The Fairy Godmother is replaced by Alidoro, a philosopher and tutor to the Prince. Cinderella is identified, not by a glass slipper, but by her bracelet. The supernatural elements that traditionally characterize the Cinderella story were removed from the libretto, simply for ease of staging.

Time: Late 18th century – early 19th century

Place: Salerno (Italy)

 

Act 1

Angelina, known to her stepfather and stepsisters as "Cenerentola," is forced to serve as the maid in her own home. She sings of a king who married a common girl ("Una volta c’era un rè"). A beggar arrives; her stepsisters, Clorinda and Tisbe, want to send him away, but Cenerentola gives him bread and coffee. Courtiers follow, announcing that Prince Ramiro will come to visit while he searches for the most beautiful girl in the land to wed. Cenerentola's stepfather, Don Magnifico, hopes to use this as an opportunity to save his own failing fortune.

When the room is empty, Ramiro enters alone, disguised as a valet. The "beggar" - in fact, his tutor, Alidoro - has informed him of a goodhearted young woman spotted here. Ramiro intends to find her incognito. Cenerentola returns, and she and Ramiro are attracted to each other (Duet: "Un soave non so che"), but when he asks who she is, she's overwhelmed and flees.

Finally, the "prince" arrives — the real valet, Dandini, who has taken his master's place - and Magnifico, Clorinda, and Tisbe fall over themselves to flatter him. He invites the family to a ball that evening, where he plans to find his bride; Cenerentola asks to join them, but Magnifico refuses (Quintet: "Signor, una parola"). This callousness isn't lost on Ramiro. Alidoro, still in his rags, returns to inquire after a third daughter in the house; Magnifico claims she has died. Left alone with Cenerentola, Alidoro promises to take her to the ball himself, and that God will reward her kindness ("Là del ciel nell’arcano profondo").

The prince and his valet have retired to Ramiro's country house in some confusion, as neither of Magnifico’s daughters resembled the worthy bride Alidoro had described. When Clorinda and Tisbe arrive, Dandini gives them a little test: he offers his "valet" to whichever sister the "prince" does not marry. The ladies are outraged at the idea of marrying a servant. Alidoro then arrives with a beautiful, unknown lady who strangely resembles Cenerentola. Unable to make sense of the situation, they all sit down to supper, feeling as if they are in a dream.

 

Act 2

Magnifico frets over the competition his daughters now face from the strange lady ("Sia qualunque delle figlie"), but Cenerentola isn't interested in the "prince," saying she's fallen in love with his servant. An overjoyed Ramiro steps forward; however, Cenerentola tells him that she's going home and doesn’t want him to follow her. If he really cares for her, she says, he will find her. The prince determines to do exactly that ("Sì, ritrovarla io giuro").

Meanwhile, Magnifico confronts the disguised Dandini, insisting that he choose one of his daughters to marry. Dandini tries to stall, but is forced to admit that he's actually the valet, and not the prince at all (Duet: "Un segreto d’importanza").

A furious Magnifico and his daughters return home, where they order Cenerentola, back in rags, to serve them. A storm is thundering outside. Alidoro sabotages Ramiro’s carriage so that it breaks down in front of Magnifico’s manor, forcing the prince to take refuge within. Cenerentola and Ramiro recognize each other; the others comment on the situation (Sextet: "Siete voi?"). When Ramiro threatens Cenerentola's recalcitrant family, she asks him to forgive them.

Ramiro and Cenerentola are married, and celebrate their wedding at the palace. Magnifico tries to win the favor of the new princess, but she asks only to be acknowledged, at last, as his daughter. She reflects on the misfortune to which she was born and the sudden reversal of her fate, then forgives her family for all her past unhappiness, adding that her days of sitting sadly by the fire are over ("Nacqui all'affanno... Non più mesta"). Everyone present acknowledges that she truly is worthy of the throne.

Program and cast

Musical direction: Daniele Rustioni
Direction and costumes: Laurent Pelly
Decor: Chantal Thomas
Light: Duane Schuler
Orchestra: Netherlands Chamber Orchestra
Chorus: Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Chorus Master: Ching-Lien Wu


Don Ramiro: Lawrence Brownlee
Clorinda: Julietta Aleksanyan-De Nationale Opera Studio
Angelina: Isabel Leonard
Alidoro: Roberto Tagliavini
Dandini: Alessio Arduini
Don Magnifico: Nicola Alaimo
Tisbe: Annunziata Vestri

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January 1970
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Dutch National Opera

Dutch National Opera & Ballet is a young theatre with a long history. The plans for building a new theatre ran parallel to the plans for a new city hall. The first discussions held by the Amsterdam city council about building a new city hall and opera house go back to 1915. At that time, the plans were specifically for an opera house, since ballet was a relatively unknown art form back then.


Ideas for the site of the new city hall and opera house were continually changing, and the idea that both buildings could form a single complex only emerged much later. Sites considered for the new city hall were initially the Dam, followed by the Frederiksplein and finally the Waterlooplein.


In 1955, the city council commissioned the firm of architects Berghoef and Vegter to draft a design for a city hall on the Waterlooplein. The draft was approved, but in 1964 the council ended the association with the architects, as the final design was nothing like the original plans they had been shown. In 1967, a competition was held for a new design, with the Viennese architect Wilhelm Holzbauer emerging as the winner. Amsterdam's financial problems, however, meant that the plans for the new city hall were put on hold for several years.


The plans for the site of the opera house also made a tour around the city: the Museumplein, Frederiksplein, Waterlooplein, Ferdinand Bolstraat and finally once again the Waterlooplein. For a while there was even talk of a mobile opera house.

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