Cinderella - Madison Opera
Cinderella Cast & Characters The Italian title for Rossini’s Cinderella is La Cenerentola (la CHEN-eh-ren-toh-la). It is not uncommon for American opera companies to translate titles into English to make them more understandable to audiences. This production of Cinderella is not the Disney version. Our Cinderella is set in 1930s Hollywood, and much of it takes place in a movie studio called Palace Pictures. These are the main characters: The Magnifico Household Angelina (ahn-jeh-LEE-nah) Angelina is Cinderella. She works as a servant for her stepfather and stepsisters. Voice type: mezzo-soprano Palace Pictures Studios Don Ramiro (don rah-MEE-roh) Ramiro is the Prince of the story. He is a hotshot film director on a quest for the next Hollywood starlet. Voice type: tenor 3 • Cinderella guide Don Magnifico (don mah-NEE-fee-coh) Angelina’s stepfather. He is a washed-up vaudeville entertainer looking for a way out of his debts. Voice type: baritone Clorinda (kloh-REEN-dah) Angelina’s wicked stepsister. Clorinda enjoys preening herself, looking in the mirror, and abusing her stepsister. Voice type: soprano Tisbe (TEES-beh) Angelina’s wicked stepsister. Like Clorinda, Tisbe is vain, spoiled, and cruel. Voice type: mezzo-soprano Alidoro (ah-lee-DOH-roh) The studio head at Palace Pictures. He is helping Ramiro find Hollywood’s next Leading Lady. Alidoro is the opera’s fairy godfather! Voice type: bass Dandini (dahn-DEE-nee) Dandini is Ramiro’s driver, but pretends to be Don Ramiro to trick the Magnificos. Voice type: baritone Opera voice types There are 5 basic voice types in the European classical system: soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, and bass. As training for singers changed over the centuries, so too did the basic voices. Here are some common descriptions of operatic voice types: Range Male Female Highest Counter-tenor Coloratua Soprano High Tenor Soprano Midrange Baritone Mezzo-soprano Low Bass Contralto Nearly all of these voice types have subcategories. For instance, a ‘soprano’ may be any one of the following: Coloratura soprano Spinto soprano Lyric soprano Dramatic soprano The subcategories do not refer to an actual voice type, but describe the repertoire at which the singer is most adept. Every voice is unique, possessing its own quality and musical color, and every singer’s capabilities are different. Some opera singers are able to sing across voice types and defy easy categorization. Many opera composers had a favorite voice or voices for which they wrote most of their music. The composer Giuseppe Verdi is credited with codifying the distinction between a ‘baritone’ and a ‘bass’, and wrote many of his pieces for the baritone voice type.
Cinderella Synopsis 1933, Hollywood. Film director Don Ramiro seeks a new leading lady for his films, but is frustrated when he cannot find an actress of honesty and integrity. His trusted mentor, Alidoro, a producer at Palace Pictures, suggests that he launch a search for this mythical heroine. ACT I The Magnifico sisters— Clorinda and Tisbe— enjoy a typical day, preening and devising new duties for their much-abused stepsister, “Cinderella.” The sisters have no time for Alidoro, who comes to their door disguised as a beggar; only Cinderella shows him any kindness. At Alidoro’s signal, members of Don Ramiro’s staff appear to invite the ladies to Palace Pictures, where Ramiro will choose the “fairest of them all” as his new leading lady. Don Magnifico, once a vaudeville entertainer but now nearly penniless due to the popularity of movies, sees this as a way out of his mounting debt; he pushes his favored daughters to prepare themselves. Ramiro, disguised as a driver so as to better observe the candidates, arrives to find only the maid — Cinderella. Their brief encounter sparks a scene of “love at first sight” worthy of any film. Ramiro’s driver Dandini enters to play his part, impersonating his boss. The Magnificos make quite a display, fawning on the imposter, but it is Don Magnifico’s abusive denial of Cinderella’s request to go along that makes the biggest impression. When she is left alone in despair, Alidoro returns to comfort her and promises to arrange for her to go to Palace Pictures. At Palace Pictures, Dandini settles into his role, leading the persistent sisters on a merry chase. A movie is being filmed at Palace Pictures, and the Magnificos enter the studio to watch. The set is very busy, with the film crew, actors, and extras working hard. Partway through the evening, a mysterious veiled woman arrives, causing much speculation. When she removes her veil, the Magnificos are stunned to see how much she resembles their maid. The mysterious woman is invited to be an extra in the film, along with the Magnifico sisters. The filming is hindered by Don Magnifico’s attempts to be in the movie. In true Hollywood fashion, the filming and the festivities, heavily laced with romance and intrigue, continue well into the night. ACT II The Magnificos redouble their efforts to win the prize, already imagining their new lifestyle. Dandini corners Cinderella and questions her, but she admits that she has fallen for his driver and prepares to leave. Ramiro tries to convince her to stay; instead she gives him a bracelet, challenging him to find the matching one she wears, proving that his feelings are sincere. Ramiro calls off the deception and orders his staff to search for the mysterious woman and her bracelet. Dandini, disappointed at his “demotion,” finds a final pleasure in revealing to the Magnificos that they have spent all evening trying to impress a chauffeur. As Cinderella sits alone, dreaming of her beautiful evening, the Magnifico family storms in, furious at having been duped. Just as they begin to take out their frustrations on Cinderella, the group from Palace Pictures comes to the door, their car having broken down nearby. Confusion sets in as Ramiro, Dandini, and Alidoro reveal their true identities, but the real fireworks begin when Ramiro recognizes Cinderella and makes her the offer of a lifetime. Rossini wrote La Cenerentola in 3 weeks. The opera premiered on Jan. 25, 1817 at the Teatro Valle in Rome. Rossini conducted his own opera, while also playing the pianoforte. Cinderella guide • 4