Cinderella (La Cenerentola)
Don Magnifico’s Castle
The curtain rises on Angelina (known as “Cenerentola”) toiling for her stepsisters, Clorinda and Tisbe. A knock at the door brings Alidoro, the court philosopher, disguised as a beggar. Cenerentola’s stepsisters rebuff him, but Cenerentola offers him food. Courtiers arrive and announce that on that very evening at the ball, the Prince will choose a bride.
All the commotion has awakened the Baron, Don Magnifico. Clorinda and Tisbe relate the news of the ball to their father. Soon thereafter, Prince Ramiro enters, disguised as his own valet, Dandini, and finds Cenerentola alone. It is love at first sight, but then her family calls, and Cenerentola rushes to their aid.
Dandini arrives, disguised as Prince Ramiro, to escort Don Magnifico’s daughters to the ball. Cenerentola asks permission to attend the ball, but Don Magnifico dismisses her. The company sets out, leaving Cenerentola behind. Alidoro returns and tells Cenerentola that she will go to the ball, but that she must not tell anyone who she is.
The Palace Garden
Dandini, continuing his masquerade, tells Clorinda and Tisbe that he can marry only one young woman, but the other may marry his valet. The sisters reject this proposal. Meanwhile, Don Magnifico has managed to get himself appointed Royal Wine Steward. Alidoro announces the arrival of a mystery lady. Cenerentola enters with her face veiled. When the veil is lifted, the sisters feel that she looks too much like their Cenerentola to be considered competition.
--- INTERMISSION ---
An Anteroom in the Palace
Don Magnifico and his daughters are discussing the mysterious lady at the ball. Meanwhile, the Prince, also remembering his mysterious guest, hides when Cenerentola hurries in with Dandini (posing as the Prince) behind her. Dandini professes his love for Cenerentola, but she confesses to loving his “valet” (really the Prince in disguise). Ramiro (still in disguise) steps forward and asks her to marry him. Cenerentola gives him a bracelet from her left arm and tells him to search for the young woman wearing its companion; if he still wants her when he finds out who she really is, she is his. She leaves. Ramiro then assumes his rightful role as the Prince. Dandini tells Don Magnifico that a choice has been made regarding a bride and then confesses that he is but the Prince’s valet. Enraged, Don Magnifico storms off.
Don Magnifico’s Castle
Don Magnifico, Clorinda, and Tisbe return home and vent their anger on Cenerentola. Dandini appears with news that the Prince’s carriage has overturned outside their house. Ramiro enters. Cenerentola suddenly realizes that he is the Prince, and the Prince recognizes her. The two go off together, leaving everyone else to make sense of what has happened.
Prince Ramiro’s Palace
In the joyous final scene, Cenerentola pardons her stepfather and stepsisters. The assembled courtiers hail her goodness and majesty.
-- adapted from Duncan Campbell’s synopsis for L’Opéra de Montréal