Broadcast

Metropolitan Opera Broadcast: La Cenerentola 

Radio Broadcast and Live in HD Transmission of Saturday, May 10, 12:55 P.M. (HD), 1 P.M. (Radio)

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Don Ramiro and Angelina are wed in the finale of La Cenerentola (Alberghini, Brownlee, Garanča, Corbelli, Durkin, Risley)
© Beth Bergman 2014
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La Cenerentola


Music by Gioachino Rossini
Libretto by Jacopo Ferretti, after Charles Perrault's Cendrillon 
and librettos by Charles Guillaume Étienne and Francesco Fiorini
THE CAST  (in order of vocal appearance)
Clorinda soprano, RACHELLE DURKIN
Tisbe mezzo, PATRICIA RISLEY
Angelina mezzo, JOYCE DiDONATO
Alidoro bass-baritone, LUCA PISARONI
Don Magnifico baritone, ALESSANDRO CORBELLI
Don Ramiro tenor, JUAN DIEGO FLÓREZ
Dandini baritone, PIETRO SPAGNOLI

Conducted by FABIO LUISI
 
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
The Metropolitan Opera Chorus
 
Production: Cesare Lievi
Set and costume designer: Maurizio Balò
Lighting designer: Gigi Saccomandi
Choreographer: Daniela Schiavone
Stage director: Eric Einhorn
Chorus master: Donald Palumbo
Musical preparation: Dennis Giauque, 
    Donna Racik, Carrie-Ann Matheson,
    Steven Osgood
Assistant stage director: Daniel Rigazzi
Recitative accompanist: Dennis Giauque
Italian coach: Gildo Di Nunzio
Prompter: Donna Racik
 
Production a gift of Alberto Vilar
 
Revival a gift of Mrs. Jayne Wrightsman
 
This performance is also being broadcast live 
    on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SiriusXM
    channel 74.
THE SCENES    Timings (ET)
ACT I   1:00–2:44
    Sc. 1 A room in Don Magnifico's mansion  
    Sc. 2 A hallway in Ramiro's palace  
    Sc. 3 The royal wine cellar  
    Sc. 4 The throne room in the palace  
    Sc. 5 The seaside near the
palace
 
ACT II   3:13–4:14
    Sc. 1 Ramiro's country house  
    Sc. 2 A room in Don Magnifico's mansion  
    Sc. 3 Ramiro's palace  

Host: Margaret Juntwait
Commentator: Ira Siff
Music producer: Jay David Saks
Producers: Mary Jo Heath, Ellen Keel,
    William Berger
Executive producers: Mia Bongiovanni,
    Elena Park

Directed for Live Cinema by:
Barbara Willis Sweete
HD host: Deborah Voigt

For more information on the broadcasts,
    please visit www.operainfo.org.

Send quiz questions to:
    Metropolitan Opera Quiz
    Metropolitan Opera
    30 Lincoln Center
    New York, NY 10023
    or e-mail metquiz@metopera.org.
This performance will be transmitted live, in high definition and surround sound, 
into selected movie theaters as part of The Met: Live in HD series, and will be shared with 
students in more than 150 U.S. schools as part of the Met's HD Live in Schools program. 
For information on tickets, visit www.metopera.org/hdlive. 
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John Relyea and Elina Garanča as Alidoro
and Angelina in the Met's production of
La Cenerentola

© Johan Elbers 2014

THE STORY  

ACT I. In Don Magnifico's run-down mansion, his daughters, Clorinda and Tisbe, try on finery while Angelina (Cenerentola), his stepdaughter, who serves as the family maid, sings a forlorn ditty about a king who found a wife among the common folk ("Una volta c'era un re"). When a beggar appears, the stepsisters dismiss him, but Cenerentola offers him bread and coffee. Courtiers arrive to announce that Prince Ramiro will pay a visit in search of a bride. The sisters order Cenerentola to fetch their jewels. Magnifico, awakened by the commotion, scolds the girls ("Miei rampolli femminini") for interrupting his dream of a donkey that sprouted wings. Apprised of the prince's visit, he exhorts the girls to capture the young man's fancy. All retire, and Ramiro  disguised as his own valet  arrives alone to observe the women of the household. His presence startles Cenerentola, and each is struck by the other's charms ("Una grazia, un certo incanto"). Asked who she is, she gives a flustered explanation, then excuses herself as the sisters demand her services. When Magnifico enters, Ramiro says the prince will arrive shortly. Magnifico fetches his daughters, and they fawn over Dandini — the prince's valet disguised as his master  who hams up his role ("Come un'ape ne' giorni d'aprile") and invites them all to a ball. Magnifico refuses Cenerentola's pleas to go along (quintet: "Signor, una parola"). Ramiro notes how badly Cenerentola is treated. His tutor, Alidoro, still in beggar's rags, reads a census list that says the household has a third daughter. Magnifico says she is dead. After Dandini and his guests depart, Alidoro tells Cenerentola that she is to accompany him to the ball. Casting off his rags, he identifies himself and assures her that heaven will reward her purity of heart ("Là del ciel nell'arcano profondo").

Dandini escorts the two sisters into Ramiro's palace and offers Magnifico a tour of the wine cellar, hoping to get him drunk. Dandini disentangles himself from the sisters, promising to rejoin them later.

In the wine cellar, Magnifico is hailed as the new wine counselor. No one, he decrees, shall mix a drop of water with any wine for the next fifteen years.

In the throne room, Dandini reports a negative opinion of the sisters to the prince, but Ramiro has heard Alidoro speak well of one of Magnifico's daughters. Clorinda and Tisbe appear. When Dandini offers Ramiro as an escort, they turn their noses up at a mere groom.

Near Ramiro's palace, Alidoro announces an unknown, veiled lady. Ramiro recognizes something in her voice. When she lifts her veil, he and Dandini, as well as the sisters, sense something familiar about her; Magnifico, arriving to announce supper, notes the newcomer's resemblance to Cenerentola. All feel they are in a dream, about to be awakened by some rude shock ("Mi par d'essere sognando").

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Don Magnifico and his daughters (Durkin, Corbelli, Risley)
© Beth Bergman 2014

ACT II. Magnifico tells his daughters not to forget his importance if one of them ascends the throne ("Sia qualunque delle figlie"). He leads them out, whereupon Ramiro wanders in, smitten with the new arrival because of her resemblance to the girl he met that morning. He conceals himself as Dandini arrives with Cenerentola, courting her. She politely declines, saying she is in love with his groomsman. At this Ramiro steps forth. To test his sincerity, she gives him one of a pair of matching bracelets, saying that if he really loves her, he will find her. After she leaves, Ramiro calls his men together to begin the search. Dandini faces Magnifico, who still believes he is the prince and insists he decide which daughter to marry. Dandini confesses he is a valet (duet: "Un segreto d'importanza"). When Magnifico becomes indignant, Dandini throws him out.

In Magnifico's mansion, Cenerentola, back in rags, tends the fire. Magnifico and the sisters return and order Cenerentola to prepare supper. She obeys, as a thunderstorm rages. Dandini arrives, saying the prince's carriage has overturned. Cenerentola realizes the prince is Ramiro; he in turn recognizes her bracelet. Magnifico and his daughters smart from their defeat; Ramiro is angered by their meanness, but Cenerentola intercedes for them (sextet: "Siete voi?").

Her family still against her, she leaves with the prince; Alidoro thanks heaven for this happy outcome.

In Ramiro's palace, Magnifico curries favor with the new princess, but she asks only to be acknowledged as his daughter. She asks the prince to forgive Magnifico and the stepsisters; born to suffering, she has seen her fortunes change ("Nacqui all'affanno"). Chastened, her father and stepsisters embrace her as she declares that her days of sitting by the fire are over ("Non più mesta accanto al fuoco").

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Don Magnifico and his daughters are observed by Don Ramiro and Dandini, above (Rachelle Durkin as Clorinda, Alessandro Corbelli as Don Magnifico, Patricia Risley as Tisbe, Lawrence Brownlee as Don Ramiro and Simone Alberghini as Dandini)
© Beth Bergman 2014

THE BACKGROUND  

Commissioned to set a different text for the 1816 season of Rome's Teatro Valle, Gioachino Rossini faced such opposition from papal censors that he abandoned the project. He and librettist Jacopo Ferretti mutually arrived at the idea of Cinderella, producing a scenario that dispensed with magical effects in favor of irony and broad humor. Pressed for time, Rossini borrowed the overture from his La Gazzetta and farmed out the recitatives to Luca Agolini, who also provided arias for Alidoro and Clorinda and an Act II chorus. Alidoro's Act I aria, "La, del ciel nell'arcano profondo," though, was penned by Rossini for an 1820 revival of the opera in Rome and often replaces Agolini's composition in modern performances of the opera. 

La Cenerentola had its premiere on January 25, 1817. Its first U.S. appearance was at New York's Park Theater in June 1826, courtesy of Manuel García's troupe. Although the Met's National Company performed the work in 1965-66, the current production, which was unveiled on October 16, 1997, marked the Metropolitan Opera House premiere.

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Don Ramiro and Angelina, right inset (Brownlee, Garanča)
© Beatriz Schiller 2014

WHAT TO READ AND HEAR  

Gaia Servadio's Rossini is a lively, well-researched modern life of the composer (Carroll and Graf). Stendahl's classic nineteenth-century biography is available in paperback from Orion. The Cambridge Companion to Rossini, edited by Emanuele Senici, is a good place to begin study of the operas themselves.

La Cenerentola has an unusually large number of fine recordings for an opera that was absent from the standard repertory for most of the twentieth century. The incomparable Teresa Berganza is a sunny, tender Angelina in Claudio Abbado's 1971 recording (DG). In the 1990s, a new generation of mezzos made La Cenerentola a specialty; among the best were Cecilia Bartoli, in luminous form under Riccardo Chailly in 1992 (Decca), and Jennifer Larmore, who achieved one of her best recorded performances under Carlo Rizzi in 1994 (Teldec). 

On DVD, two top-flight Rossinians, Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez, star in an unconventional but witty production by Joan Font of the Comediants (Decca), recorded in Barcelona in 2007 with Patrick Summers conducting. The Met's current Cenerentola staging was transmitted as part of The Met: Live in HD series in 2009, with Maurizio Benini pacing Elina Garanča and Lawrence Brownlee, both in elegant form (DG). Ruxandra Dunose is a particularly appealing Angelina in Peter Hall's Glyndebourne staging, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski in 2005 (Glyndebourne). spacer 

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Current Issue: October 2014 — VOL. 79, NO. 4