La Cenerentola Synopsis

Cinderella, or Goodness Triumphant

ACT I
Scene 1: A room in the mansion of the Baron of Montefiascone
Clorinda and Tisbe are adorning themselves while Angelina (Cenerentola) works, singing about a king who chose a bride for her innocence and virtue instead of pomp and beauty. When she keeps on singing, despite the complaints of Clorinda and Tisbe, they are about to strike her, but are interrupted by a knock at the door, and Alidoro appears, disguised as a beggar. Clorinda and Tisbe want to drive him away, but Cenerentola surreptitiously gives him bread and coffee and he promises that heaven will reward her before nightfall. Angry at her generosity, Clorinda and Tisbe again prepare to beat Cenerentola, but the courtiers of Prince Ramiro appear bringing an invitation to a ball at his palace. The sisters call imperiously to Cenerentola to bring their finery and help them to dress; she laments that she will have to stay at home and Alidoro watches in amusement.
The sisters are quarrelling over who is to tell their father the news, when he appears, reproving them for having disturbed his beautiful dream: he dreamed of a donkey that sprouted wings, interpreting this as meaning that his daughters will become queens: he is the donkey, they are the wings.
He rejoices at the news about the ball, hoping that one of his daughters will marry the prince and salvage his crumbling mansion. They all retire to their rooms and Prince Ramiro appears, disguised as his own equerry. He is determined to marry for love and Alidoro, his tutor, has told him that a worthy bride is to be found in this house. He meets Cenerentola and they fall in love on the spot. He is puzzled by how such a pretty girl should be so poorly dressed and decides to continue his impersonation, the better to see through to the hearts of the baron's daughters, and announces the prince's arrival to Don Magnifico. Dandini, disguised as the prince, enters and pays extravagant compliments to Clorinda and Tisbe, so that each is convinced that he has fallen in love with her.
He gives a garbled account of the situation - the prince's father had left his dying order that the prince was to marry at once, so he is scouring the country for a suitable bride. Ramiro, watching quietly and occasionally trying to restrain Dandini's flights of eloquence, wants to see Cenerentola again.
She appears, begging Don Magnifico to let her go to the ball too, but he rejects her angrily and when she entreats Dandini and Ramiro to intercede for her, tells them that she is only a servant. Alidoro, no longer disguised, appears with a register which indicates that there are three sisters in the house, and Magnifico hastily answers that the third has died. Everyone leaves except Alidoro and Cenerentola. He tells her that he will take her to the ball in his carriage.

Scene 2: A room in Prince Ramiro's country house
Dandini, still disguised as the prince, orders that Don Magnifico, who has been discoursing on the subject of wine, be shown the cellars for a tasting, and if he manages to keep his feet, promises to appoint him master of the cellars. Clorinda and Tisbe contend for Dandini's favours.

Scene 3: Drawing-room in the prince's palace
Don Magnifico has passed the drinking test and the admiring courtiers proclaim him master of the cellars. Dandini reports to the prince that the sisters are a mixture of insolence, bad temper and vanity, and Ramiro is puzzled, since this does not fit the information brought by Alidoro about one of Don Magnifico's daughters.
Clorinda and Tisbe enter in pursuit of the "prince" and Dandini explains that he can only marry one of them, but the other can marry his equerry. They refuse haughtily.
Alidoro announces the arrival of a mysterious veiled lady. When she unveils all are struck by her resemblance to Cenerentola. Don Magnifico, appearing to announce supper, is also struck by the likeness. Dandini invites the puzzled guests to join him for supper.

ACT II
Scene 1: A room in Prince Ramiro's palace
Ramiro is puzzled by the resemblance of the mysterious beauty to the girl he has fallen in love with and fears that Dandini too is smitten. He hides and listens while Dandini tries to woo Cenerentola, only to be told that she loves his equerry.
Joyfully, Ramiro asks if she will marry him and she tells him that he must learn more about her, giving him a bracelet by which he will be able to identify her, as she wears its double on the other arm. She leaves and Alidoro advises Ramiro to follow his heart. Ramiro tells Dandini that the masquerade is over, orders him to get rid of Don Magnifico and his daughters and leaves with his retinue in search of his love. Don Magnifico, hoping to get Dandini to make his choice between his daughters, learns that Dandini is only the prince's valet.

Scene 2: A room in Don Magnifico's house
Cenerentola, singing her song about the king and thinking of the man she loves, is surprised when Don Magnifico and his daughters arrive back. A storm breaks out and Ramiro and Dandini enter, their carriage having broken down at the door through Alidoro's intervention, and the household is amazed to learn that Ramiro is the prince. He recognises the bracelet and claims his bride, turning angrily on Don Magnifico and his daughters when they try to drive Cenerentola away. When she begs him to take pity on them, they accuse her of hypocrisy and when he announces that he is going to marry her they think he is joking.

Scene 3: The throne room in Prince Ramiro's palace
Cenerentola once again begs Ramiro to forgive Don Magnifico and his daughters, who now show some sign of contrition, and rejoices in the change of fortune that has befallen her.