La Cenerentola is a comic opera by Gioacchino Rossini. The libretto was written by Jacobo Ferretti, based on the fairy tale Cinderella. Rossini's La Cenerentola was first performed in Rome in 1817.
Rossini composed La Cenerentola when he was 25 years old, following the success of The Barber of Seville the year before. "La Cenerentola", which he completed in a period of three weeks, is considered to have some of his finest writing for solo voice and ensembles.
At the first performance, the opera was received by hostility, but it soon became popular throughout Italy and beyond; it reached London in 1820 and New York in 1826. Through most of the 19th century, its popularity rivalled that of the Barber, but as the coloratura contralto became rare it fell slowly out of the repertoire. However, from the 1970s onward, as Rossini enjoyed a renaissance, a new generation of Rossini mezzo-sopranos such as Cecilia Bartoli, Ewa Podles, Jennifer Larmore, Kathleen Kuhlmann, Joyce di Donato, Frederica von Stade, Bernadette Cullen and Ann Murray ensured the renewed popularity of the work.
There are a number of recordings of the opera, and it is regularly performed, being the eleventh most performed opera in North America (according to Opera America).
There are changes from the traditional fairy tale in La Cenerentola because Rossini did not want magic to feature in his opera.
About the opera
Angelina (Cenerentola) has a stepfather (Don Magnifico), and the traditional Fairy Godmother is replaced by Alidoro, who is a Philosopher and former Tutor to the Prince. Don Magnifico's spoilt and vain daughters are Clorinda and Tisbe, who are very selfish and self-absorbed. Prince Ramiro and his valet, Dandini, change places so that the Prince can find a bride who will love him for himself, and not for his social status. Matching bracelets replace the traditional glass slipper as the means by which the Prince finds Cenerentola.
While Ramiro is disguised as a valet, Dandini (pretending to be the Prince) offers his "valet" as a marriage partner to whichever of the two sisters (Clorinda and Tisbe) he does not marry. Both sisters haughtily reject the offer of the "valet" (Ramiro) as husband, in terms which he later quotes back to them after he has resumed his proper position as Prince.
While Ramiro and Dandini are still pretending to be each other, Cenerentola tells the "Prince" (Dandini) that she is love with his "valet" (Ramiro).