Massenet’s Cendrillon is a touching, romantic interpretation of the much-loved story of Cinderella. The opera is full of wonderful music, from the impassioned love duet for Cendrillon and her Prince, to the coloratura effervescence of the Fairy Godmother and the brilliantly-scored ‘March of the Princesses’. Director Laurent Pelly pays tribute to the opera’s fairytale origins, setting his production literally within a storybook.
When Cendrillon was staged by The Royal Opera in July 2011 it was the first time the opera had been performed at Covent Garden. It was released to cinemas six months later in January 2012. In this recording Bertrand de Billy conducts Massenet’s sparkling score with a wonderfully light touch. The superb cast includes Royal Opera favourite Joyce DiDonato as Cendrillon, Alice Coote as her ardent Prince Charming, Ewa Podlés in gloriously comic form as Cendrillon’s snobbish Stepmother Madame de la Haltière and Eglise Gutierrez as a sassy Fairy Godmother (La Fée).
With warm thanks to
Season Principal Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, the Royal Opera House Endowment Fund, Susan and John Singer and all the supporters of The Royal Opera.
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Lucette, known as Cendrillon, lives with her father Pandolfe, her step-mother Madame de la Haltière and her two step-sisters, Noémie and Dorothée. The household are busy preparing for a ball. Cendrillon, who is not allowed to attend, sits by the fire and dreams about it. The Fairy (Cendrillon’s fairy godmother) enters and conjures up a coach, horses, a stunning dress and glass slippers for Cendrillon, so she can go to the ball without being recognized. But she must leave before midnight.
The Prince is miserable because he must choose a wife from among the party guests. But when an unknown beauty (Cendrillon) arrives at the ball he is enchanted. The clock strikes twelve, and she rushes home, losing one of her glass slippers in her hurry.
Madame de la Haltière and her daughters dismiss the Prince's interest in the 'unknown stranger' and say the Prince spoke contemptuously of her. Cendrillon decides she is too sad to go on living and leaves for the forest. The Prince, too, has gone to the forest looking for the mysterious princess from the ball. Hearing each other, they reaffirm their love and fall into an enchanted sleep.
Months pass. Cendrillon's father, who found her very ill in the forest, has been caring for her. She has been talking of the ball, the Prince and the forest and she begins to believe that it may all have been a dream. But when princesses from all over the land are summoned to try the glass slipper, Cendrillon realizes she may have been at the ball after all...
An audio described version of this performance is also available. Watch now on Youtube.