Rossini’s “La Cenerentola”: Two Enchanting Excerpts from the Final Act

Gioachino Rossini’s touching 1817 comic opera, La Cenerentola, retells the popular Cinderella fairy tale with a few wrinkles: The glass slipper is replaced with a bracelet, the wicked stepmother is, instead, a stepfather named Don Magnifico, the Fairy Godmother is replaced by the philosopher, Alidoro, and there is no magic pumpkin.

Questo e un nodo avviluppato

One of the opera’s most dramatic moments occurs in the second (and final) act when the Prince (Don Ramiro) recognizes the bracelet on Cenerentola’s right arm, revealing her identity to everyone. Rossini’s sextet, Questo e un nodo avviluppato (“This is a tangled knot”) captures the collective shock with an emphasis on trembling consonants (grr, trr, rr). As the scene continues, Magnifico and his daughters, Clorinda and Tisbe, refuse to accept defeat, angering the Prince. It is Cenerentola who pleads with the Prince to forgive her family.

This 1971 recording features Claudio Abbado and the London Symphony Orchestra with Luigi Alva (Don Ramiro), Teresa Berganza (Cenerentola), Margherita Guglielmi (Clorinda), Laura Zannini (Tisbe), Renato Capecchi (Dandini), and Paolo Montarsolo (Don Magnifico):

Non più mesta

La Cenerentola concludes with the glittering aria, Non più mesta (“No longer sad”). Cenerentola and the Prince celebrate their wedding at the palace, and the family is joyfully united. All are moved by Cenerentola’s ability to forgive her abusive stepfather and stepsisters. Rossini reserves the opera’s most spectacularly virtuosic tour-de-force for these final moments, highlighting the blossoming of Cenerentola as a character.

Here is Cecilia Bartoli’s landmark 1997 Metropolitan Opera performance:

Recordings

  • Rossini: La Cenerentola, Claudio Abbado, London Symphony Orchestra, Scottish National Opera Chorus, Luigi Alva, Teresa Berganza, Margherita Guglielmi, Laura Zannini, Renato Capecchi, and Paolo Montarsolo Amazon
  • Rossini: La Cenerentola, Michele Pertusi, Christoph Eschenbach, Cecilia Bartoli, Enzo Dara, Alessandro Corbelli, Raúl Giménez, Fabio Sparvoli Amazon 

Featured Image: “La Cenerentola” with Cecilia Bartoli in Zürich in 2019

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

2 thoughts on “Rossini’s “La Cenerentola”: Two Enchanting Excerpts from the Final Act”

  1. I very well remember Bartoli’s “coming upon the scene” and just how incredibly luscious and strong her voice sounded. An absolute triumph for Rossini!

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  2. Nice to hear something light hearted, vocal solos (which orchestras used to.present on concert series, but seldom do now, except for pops singers or the annual Messiah, or other mass, oratorio, or Beethoven 9th. A fun selection.

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