La cenerentola - Synopsis
In the house of her ruined stepfather Don Magnifico, Angelina (Cenerentola) is busy working as maid, while her stepsisters, Clorinda and Tisbe, try on their gowns and jewelry. Angelina sings a song about a King who found his wife among common folk (“Una volta c’era un re”). When a beggar comes, Clorinda and Tisbe want to send him away, but Angelina offers him bread and coffee. While the beggar is eating, courtiers arrive to announce that Prince Don Ramiro is looking for a bride, and that he will soon stop by: the two sisters are all aflutter, and their father Don Magnifico, woken up from deep sleep, tells them his auspicious dream (“Miei rampolli femminini”). The prince arrives, disguised as his own valet in order to observe the women, as his tutor Alidoro suggested. He meets Angelina and both fall immediately in love (“Un soave non so che”). Don Ramiro annouces the arrive of the Prince, who is actually Dandini, Ramiro’s valet, in disguise. Dandini arrives, dressed as the prince (“Come un’ape nei giorni d’aprile”) and invites them all to the ball. Angelina would like to go, too, but Don Magnifico forbids her from attending. Alidoro, Don Ramiro and Dandini all pleads for the girl, but Don Magnifico says she is only a servant and that his third daughter is dead, and leave Angelina alone (“Nel volto estatico”). The beggar comes back: he is Alidoro, and tells Angelina he will accompany her to the ball, and that the heaven will reward her kind heart (“Là del ciel nell’arcano profondo”).
In Don Ramiro’s palace, Clorinda and Tisbe ask Dandini to declare his choice. Without committing, Dandini suggests Ramiro as a possible husband for the rejected sister, but they disdain the offer. Alidoro announces the arrival of a beautiful, mysterious lady. She is Angelina, but nobody can recognize her. Everyone thinks to be in a dream (“Mi par d’essere sognando”).
In a room in the Prince’s palace. Don Magnifico reassures his daughters: one of them will marry the prince (“Sia qualunque delle figlie”). When they leave, Don Ramiro enters daydreaming about the unknown lady and her resemblance to Angelina. He hides when Dandini arrives with Angelina and tries to court her. She refuses, because she is in love with his valet; Don Ramiro declares his love, but she hands him one of her bracelets and tells him that if he really cares for her, he will find her, then disappears. Don Ramiro is ready to search her everywhere (“Sì, ritrovarla io giuro”).
Dandini confesses to Don Magnifico that he is really the prince’s valet (“Un segreto d’importanza”). Don Magnifico becomes highly indignant, and Dandini orders him out of the palace.â€¨
A thunderstorm rages. Back in Don Magnifico’s house, Angelina sings again her ballad. Dandini and Ramiro arrive, seeking shelter because their carriage has overturned. Cenerentola discovers that Don Ramiro is the prince, and he recognizes her bracelet (“Questo è un nodo avviluppato”). Don Magnifico, Clorinda and Tisbe are angry. Don Ramiro threatens to punish them, but Angelina ask him to forgive them. In the final scene, Cenerentola forgives everyone and marries the prince, declaring that her days serving as maid are over (“Nacqui all’affanno e al pianto”).