Over the centuries, the story of Cinderella and her cruel stepmother and ugly stepsisters has been interpreted in countless ways across different genres. Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola is perhaps the most famous operatic version of the Cinderella story, and it is like no other interpretation. This opera has no fairy godmother, no pumpkin that turns into a carriage, and no glass slipper. However, unlike most other operas, it has a happy ending. The production is rated TV-PG and will air on Great Performances at the Met in HD on Saturday, August 15 at Noon on PBS (check local listings) and on WNET/THIRTEEN on Thursday, August 20 at 9 p.m.
Watch a preview below:
Mezzo soprano Elīna Garaňca, who played Rosina in another one of Rossini’s operas, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, now claims the role of the title heroine in La Cenerentola; her Prince Charming is played by Lawrence Brownlee. “It’s actually a coincidence that I’m returning in another of Rossini’s works,” admits Garaňca. Of the opera’s most memorable coloratura showpiece, “Nacqui alľ affanno,” Garaňca says “for me it’s the Olympics – adrenaline at its highest. To get through it, I must switch on all the buttons in the computer in my head and body.”
Italian opera in the early 19th century focused heavily on the range, inflection, and tone of the human voice; this style became known as “bel canto,” or “beautiful singing.” While many opera singers tried to wow audiences by improvising with this technique and adding trills and lilts to their singing, Rossini’s operas, especially La Cenerentola, had bel canto already built right into the scores.
Great Performances at the Met: La Cenerentola is the tenth of 11 productions airing this season on the series. The performance is sung in Italian with English surtitles. Maestro Maurizio Benini conducts, as veteran baritone Alessandro Corbelli demonstrates his impeccable comic timing to match the gravitas of Met favorite John Relyea; the librettist is Jacopo Ferretti.
Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television viewers, and PBS. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers.
Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.