Cinderella

MUSIC BY Gioachino Rossini

Libretto by Jacopo Ferretti

SAN FRANCISCO OPERA PRODUCTION

Thanks to her open heart and determination, Cinderella triumphs over her mean-spirited relatives in Rossini’s sparkling version of the story. Karine Deshayes, lauded for her “emotional depth and vibrant, beautiful sound” (The New York Times), makes her San Francisco Opera debut in the beloved fairy tale about a gentle but courageous servant girl who catches the eye of a handsome prince. In San Francisco Opera’s charming and heartwarming production, esteemed Spanish conductor Jesús López-Cobos leads a superb cast. The elegant and exciting René Barbera debuts as the prince and Fabio Capitanucci brings his “robust, warm voice and impressive Italianate lyricism” (The New York Times) to the role of the prince’s valet Dandini; Spanish baritone Carlos Chausson is Cinderella's evil stepfather.

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Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Approximate running time: 2 hours, 50 minutes including one intermission

Pre-Opera Talks are free to ticketholders and take place in the Opera House in the Orchestra section, 55 minutes prior to curtain.

San Francisco Opera production

Audio excerpts are from the 1974 performance of 
Cinderella with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Sir John Pritchard.
Un soave non so che”/Ugo Benelli (Don Ramiro), Frederica von Stade (Cinderella); “Come un’ape ne’ giorni d’aprile”/Renato Capecchi (Dandini); “Dolce speranza”/Ugo Benelli, Chorus; “Non più mesta”/Frederica von Stade, Chorus


Cast

Angelina (Cinderella) Karine Deshayes *
Don Ramiro René Barbera *
Dandini Fabio Capitanucci
Don Magnifico Carlos Chausson *
Alidoro Christian Van Horn
Clorinda Maria Valdes *
Thisbe Zanda Svede *

Production Credits

Conductor Jesús López-Cobos
Director Gregory Fortner *
Production Jean Pierre Ponnelle
Lighting Designer Gary Marder
Chorus Director Ian Robertson

* San Francisco Opera Debut

Synopsis

ACT I

In the run-down castle of Don Magnifico, his daughters Clorinda and Tisbe are in the middle of one of their usual arguments. Their stepsister Angelina, called Cenerentola, who serves as the family maid, sings her favorite song about a king who married a common girl. There is a knock on the door and Alidoro, tutor to the prince Don Ramiro, enters, dressed as a beggar. The stepsisters want to send him away, but Cenerentola gives him bread and coffee. Courtiers arrive to announce that Ramiro will soon pay a visit: he is looking for the most beautiful girl in the land and will hold a ball to choose his bride. Magnifico hopes that it will be one of the stepsisters: marriage to a wealthy man is the only way to save the family fortune. When the room is empty, Ramiro enters alone, dressed in his servant’s clothes so he can freely observe the prospective brides. Alidoro has told him that there is a girl in the house worthy to be a princess, and Ramiro is determined to find out who she is. Cenerentola returns and is startled by the presence of a stranger. The two are immediately attracted to each other. He asks her who she is, and Cenerentola stammers a confused explanation, then runs away. Finally, the “prince” arrives—in fact Ramiro’s valet, Dandini, in disguise. To Ramiro’s amusement, Magnifico, Clorinda, and Tisbe fall over themselves flattering this prince, who invites them to the ball. Cenerentola asks to be taken along but Magnifico refuses. Ramiro notes how badly Cenerentola is treated. Alidoro reenters with information that there is a third daughter in the house but Magnifico claims she has died. Left alone with Cenerentola, Alidoro tells her he will take her to the ball and explains that God will reward her good heart.

At Ramiro’s country house, Dandini shares with the prince his negative opinion of the two sisters. But both men are confused, since Alidoro has spoken well of one of Magnifico’s daughters. Clorinda and Tisbe appear again, having followed Dandini who still poses as the prince. When he offers Ramiro as a husband to the sister the prince does not marry, they are outraged at the idea of marrying a servant. Alidoro enters 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 II

Magnifico fears that the arrival of the stranger could ruin his daughters’ chances to marry the prince. Cenerentola, tired of being pursued by Dandini, tells him that she is in love with his servant. Overhearing this, Ramiro is overjoyed and steps forward. Cenerentola, however, tells him that she will return home and doesn’t want him to follow her. If he really cares for her, she says, he will find her. The prince resolves to win the mysterious girl.
Meanwhile Magnifico, who still thinks that Dandini is the prince, confronts him, insisting that he decide which of his daughters he will marry. Dandini first advises him to be patient, then reveals that he is in fact the prince’s servant. Magnifico is furious.

Magnifico and the sisters return home in a bad mood and order Cenerentola, again in rags, to prepare supper. During a thunderstorm, Alidoro arranges for Ramiro’s carriage to break down in front of Magnifico’s castle so that the prince has to take refuge inside. Cenerentola and Ramiro recognize each other as the various parties comment on the situation. When Ramiro threatens Magnifico and his daughters who are unwilling to accept defeat, Cenerentola asks him to forgive them.

At the prince’s palace, Ramiro and Cenerentola celebrate their wedding. Magnifico tries to win the favor of the new princess, but she asks only to be acknowledged at last as his daughter. Born to misfortune, she has seen her life change and invites her family to join her, declaring that the days of sitting by the fire are over.

PERFORMANCES

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*OperaVision, HD video projection screens featured in the Balcony level for this performance, is made possible by the Koret-Taube Media Suite.

Sponsors

This production is made possible, in part, by Chevron.
Cast, program, prices and schedule are subject to change.