• La Cenerentola Synopsis

The Story

Audio tracks are embedded within each activity. A pronunciation guide and "Who's Who" chart can be found here.

ACT I In the once-great house of Don Magnifico, his daughters, Clorinda and Tisbe, bicker constantly while showering insults on their stepsister Angelina, known as “Cenerentola.” One day, as Clorinda and Tisbe quarrel and Cenerentola cleans house while singing of a king who married a commoner (“Una volta c’era un rè”), a beggar appears at the door. Clorinda and Tisbe try to shoo him away, but Cenerentola instead gives him food. Soon after, courtiers of the Prince, Don Ramiro, enter, announcing their master’s search for the most beautiful woman in the land to take as his bride. Magnifico realizes that marrying one of his daughters to the Prince could restore his family’s fortune and grandeur. But unbeknownst to them all, the Prince has already sent a scout to meet the daughters: his tutor, Alidoro, masquerading as the beggar.

While Clorinda and Tisbe spruce up for the Prince, another visitor arrives. Dressed as the Prince’s valet, Dandini, this is in fact Don Ramiro himself. When he and Cenerentola meet, they fall in love at first sight (Duet: “Un soave non so che”). But as “Dandini” tries to strike up a conversation, the flustered Cenerentola runs off.

Finally the “Prince” arrives—Dandini, disguised as Ramiro. Magnifico, Clorinda, and Tisbe flatter and fawn over him, and Dandini invites them all to the ball at his palace. Cenerentola asks her father for permission to join them. He says no. (Quintet: “Signor, una parola”).

Alidoro appears again. According to the royal census, he says, Magnifico has three daughters, and the Prince should inspect them all. Magnifico tells him his third daughter has died. Alidoro, Dandini, and Ramiro all express doubt, but nevertheless head off to the palace with Magnifico, Clorinda, and Tisbe. Alone with Cenerentola, Alidoro introduces himself as the Prince’s tutor. He offers to escort her to the ball. At the palace, Dandini—still dressed as the Prince—tells the real Prince how unpleasant Magnifico’s two daughters are. Ramiro is confused, because Alidoro had earlier told him Magnifico had a lovely daughter. When Clorinda and Tisbe appear, Dandini proposes a match between one of them and his “servant”—which is of course the Prince in disguise. Both girls reject so lowly a beau. At last, Alidoro arrives, accompanied by a beautiful young woman. Magnifico and the two sisters remark that she resembles Cenerentola, but agree it could not be her. Confused and unable to make sense of the situation, they all sit down to eat.

ACT II The arrival of the unknown girl has Magnifico worried. Neither Clorinda nor Tisbe might win the Prince’s hand (“Sia qualunque delle figlie”). Dandini—still playing the Prince—flirts with Cenerentola, but she tells him she prefers his “valet.” The real Prince, smitten, reveals himself. But Cenerentola is not so easily won. She hands him one of a pair of matching bracelets, announces she’s going home, and challenges him to find her. Ramiro is determined to win the mysterious girl (“Sì, ritrovarla io giuro”).

Elsewhere in the palace, Magnifico insists that the “Prince” make up his mind: Clorinda or Tisbe? Dandini finally admits he’s just the valet in disguise. Magnifico is furious (Duet: “Un segreto d’importanza”). He and his daughters return home.

Thunder and rain are raging outside Magnifico’s house when Dandini bursts in, now dressed as himself. The Prince’s carriage has been in an accident, he announces: can they help? As Cenerentola finds a chair for Ramiro, he notices her bracelet— he has found his true love. Magnifico, Clorinda, and Tisbe refuse to accept defeat, angering the Prince, but Cenerentola asks him to take pity on her family.

The wedding takes place in the palace. Magnifico fears that his stepdaughter will punish him, but all she wants is to be recognized as his child. She asks the Prince for mercy on her father and her sisters, and the family is united (“Non più mesta”).