Alexander Krampe on the children’s version of La Cenerentola:
Not even five weeks remained before the scheduled première on 25 January 1817 when, after a good dinner with his librettist, Rossini decided to write an opera after the fairy-tale story Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper by Charles Perrault. The tale is indisputably one of the finest and most accessible stories in world literature.
Alidoro, Prince Ramiro’s wise advisor, has disguised himself as a beggar to find a suitable wife for him. He is repulsed stone-heartedly by the two vain sisters in Donna Magnifica’s house. Only the maid Angelina (Cinderella) gives him something to eat. Returning to the Prince, Alidoro says that he would find the right bride in that house, the one with a heart of pure gold. The clever Prince now plans a little subterfuge; in order to view the whole thing undisturbed, he switches roles with his valet Dandini. Thus disguised, Ramiro meets Angelina during his first visit to the house and immediately takes her into his heart. Now “Prince Dandini” appears and flirts for all he’s worth with the two official daughters. The Magnifica family is to come to the castle ball, where the right daughter will be chosen for marriage. Magnifica and her daughters deck themselves out for the ball, while they sternly forbid poor Cinderella to appear there; after all, she does not even have a gown.
Everything that follows happens as it should and as it must; the Prince finally gets his Cinderella. This version for children allows itself only one small correction; the glass slipper, which fits on Cinderella’s pretty foot, had to be reintroduced into the piece – Master Rossini and his librettist had replaced it with a dull bracelet.
As with the story, so it is with Rossini's La Cenerentola; it is irresistible to the ear. The 12-piece orchestra (including accordion and marimba) reproduces the original in shimmering, appropriately spirited ways.