In Rossini’s opera La Cenerentola, the well-known Cinderella tale has been transformed into a merry drama for adults. Barbe & Doucet, the creative team of the production, has transferred the story to the 1930s New York cabaret atmosphere.
So that Ramiro could inherit a theater from his recently deceased father, he has to get married. The King’s Follies theater was once considered one of the most prestigious revues in New York, but the style is now dated, and its great success is a thing of the past. To improve the business, Alidoro, Ramiro’s legal advisor, suggests that he should marry the stepdaughter of Don Magnifico, the owner of the Button Club, a rundown burlesque show. Angelina (Cenerentola), Magnifico’s stepdaughter, is taking care of her sisters and other performers of the Button Club but her dream is to design sets and costumes for the theater. Angelina’s creative vision helps her to become a partner in Ramiro’s business, but her attractive personality makes him fall in love with her.
This is the first production of La Cenerentola at the Latvian National Opera.
A stroboscope is used on stage. Not recommended for viewers under 12.
Cinderella, or Goodness Triumphant
Clorinda and Tisbe are adorning themselves while Angelina (Cenerentola) works, singing about a king who chose a bride for her innocence and virtue instead of pomp and beauty. When she keeps on singing, despite the complaints of Clorinda and Tisbe, they are about to strike her but are interrupted by a knock at the door. Alidoro appears, disguised as a beggar. Clorinda and Tisbe want to drive him away, but Cenerentola surreptitiously gives him bread and coffee. He promises that heaven will reward her before nightfall. Clorinda and Tisbe are angry at her generosity. The attendants of Ramiro invite the two girls to a ball at Don Ramiro’s palace. The sisters call imperiously to Cenerentola to bring their finery and help them to dress; she laments that she will have to stay at home.
The sisters are quarrelling over who is to tell their father the news. He enters, reproving them for having disturbed his beautiful dream: he dreamed of a donkey that sprouted wings, interpreting this as meaning that his daughters will become queens: he is the donkey, they are the wings.
He rejoices at the news about the ball, hoping that one of his daughters will marry the prince and salvage his crumbling house. They all retire to their rooms. Prince Ramiro appears, disguised as his valet. He is determined to marry for love. Alidoro told him that a worthy bride is to be found in this house. He meets Cenerentola and is seduced by her simplicity. He decides to continue his impersonation, the better to see through to the hearts of Don Magnifico's daughters, and announces the prince's arrival. Dandini, disguised as the prince, enters and pays extravagant compliments to Clorinda and Tisbe, so that each is convinced that he has fallen in love with her.
He gives a garbled account of the situation - the prince's father had left his dying order that the prince was to marry at once. Watching quietly and occasionally trying to restrain Dandini's flights of eloquence, Ramiro wants to see Cenerentola again.
She appears, begging Don Magnifico to let her go to the ball too, but he rejects her angrily and when she entreats Dandini and Ramiro to intercede for her, tells them that she is only a servant. Alidoro, no longer disguised, appears with a register which indicates that there are three sisters in the house, and Magnifico hastily answers that the third has died. Everyone leaves except Alidoro and Cenerentola. He tells her that he will take her to the ball.
Dandini, still disguised as the prince, orders that Don Magnifico, who has been discoursing on the subject of wine, be shown the cellars for a tasting, and if he manages to keep his feet, promises to appoint him master of the cellars. Clorinda and Tisbe contend for Dandini's favours.
Don Magnifico has passed the drinking test and the admiring attendants proclaim him master of the cellars. Dandini reports to the prince that the sisters are a mixture of insolence, bad temper and vanity. Ramiro is puzzled, since this does not fit the information brought by Alidoro about one of Don Magnifico's daughters.
Clorinda and Tisbe enter in pursuit of the "prince" and Dandini explains that he can only marry one of them, but the other can marry his valet. They refuse haughtily.
Alidoro announces the arrival of a mysterious veiled lady.
Don Magnifico, appearing to announce supper, is struck by the resemblance of this lady to Cenerentola. Dandini invites the puzzled guests to join him for supper.
Don Magnifico Asks his girls to go seduce Don Ramiro. He reflects on his upcoming bright future.
Ramiro fears that Dandini too is smitten with this mysterious beauty. He hides and listens while Dandini tries to woo Cenerentola, only to be told that she loves his valet.
Joyfully, Ramiro asks if she will marry him. She tells him that he must learn more about her, Before leaving she gives him a bracelet by which he will be able to identify her. Alidoro advises Ramiro to follow his heart. Ramiro tells Dandini that the masquerade is over, orders him to get rid of Don Magnifico and his daughters and leaves with his retinue in search of his love. Don Magnifico, hoping to get Dandini to make his choice between his daughters, learns that Dandini is only the prince's valet.
Cenerentola, singing her song about the king and thinking of the man she loves, is surprised when Don Magnifico and his daughters arrive back. A storm breaks out and Ramiro and Dandini enter, their carriage having broken down at the door. The household is amazed to learn that Ramiro is the prince. He recognises the bracelet and claims his bride, turning angrily on Don Magnifico and his daughters when they try to drive Cenerentola away. When she begs him to take pity on them, they accuse her of hypocrisy and when he announces that he is going to marry her they think he is joking.
Cenerentola once again begs Ramiro to forgive Don Magnifico and his daughters, who now show some sign of contrition, and rejoices in the change of fortune that has befallen her.