Sung in French with projected English translations
For the first time ever, Opera Birmingham brings to life Massenet’s enchanting French opera, Cinderella! With soaring love duets and thrilling high notes, this magical operatic gem is one not to be missed. Join us for this classic fairytale love story, perfect for opera lovers of all ages and anyone who believes in true love and happily-ever-after!
A storybook kingdom. Pandolfe, a country gentleman, has married Madame de la Haltière, an imperious countess. She and her daughters, Noémie and Dorothée, bully Pandolfe’s daughter from his first marriage, Lucette—known as Cinderella.
The household prepares for a ball to be given at the Court that evening. Pandolfe bemoans his lot: married to a nagging wife who ill-treats his daughter. Madame de la Haltière instructs her daughters on how to behave at the ball. She refuses to let Cinderella attend the festivities or to let her father say goodbye to her. After her family has left, Cinderella sits by the fire and dreams of the ball. Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother appears and conjures her a beautiful gown and glass slippers. She tells Cinderella that she can go to the ball but must leave before midnight, and that the glass slippers will prevent Cinderella’s family from recognizing her.
The royal ballroom is full of guests enjoying themselves, but Prince Charming is in a melancholy mood. The King orders his son to find a wife, and several princesses dance for the Prince. An unknown beauty, Cinderella in all her finery, enters the room to general surprise. The whole court—except Madame de la Haltière and her daughters—are charmed by the stranger, and the Prince immediately falls in love with her. Left alone with Cinderella, he tells her of his feelings. Cinderella is equally taken with the Prince, but at the first stroke of midnight she hurries away, remembering the Fairy Godmother’s words.
Cinderella has returned home, crestfallen at having had to leave the Prince behind. She remembers her frightening journey from the royal palace and how she lost one of her glass slippers as she left the ball. Madame de la Haltière and her daughters enter, abusing Pandolfe. Madame de la Haltière then describes to Cinderella the “unknown stranger” who appeared at the King’s ball, telling her that the Prince spoke contemptuously of the girl, and that the Court regarded her with disdain. When Pandolfe tells his wife to be quiet, she turns on him again. Pandolfe has finally had enough and sends Madame de la Haltière, Noémie, and Dorothée out of the room. He suggests to Cinderella that they leave town and return together to his country estate. Cinderella agrees, and Pandolfe goes to prepare for their journey. Alone, Cinderella decides that she is too sad to continue living. She bids farewell to her home and leaves, determined to go off and die in the forest.
Spirits are dancing in the forest. Prince Charming and Cinderella enter, looking for each other. They pray to the Fairy Godmother to ease their pain. Hearing each other’s voices, they reaffirm their love, and Cinderella tells the Prince her true name, Lucette. The Fairy Godmother allows the pair to see each other. They embrace and fall into an enchanted sleep.
Pandolfe has found Cinderella in the forest and has been caring for her at home. He tells her that she had been talking during her illness of her adventures at the ball and of Prince Charming. Cinderella begins to believe that the whole episode was a dream. Trying to be brave, she greets the spring with her father. Madame de la Haltière, Noémie, and Dorothée enter excitedly. They tell Cinderella and Pandolfe that the King has summoned maidens from all over the land in the hope that one of them is the unknown beauty whom the Prince met at the ball. Madame de la Haltière is sure that the Prince must mean one of her daughters and is determined to go to the palace. A herald announces that the Prince is insisting that each woman who appears at court must try on the glass slipper left behind by the unknown beauty, for it will only fit perfectly upon her foot. Cinderella resolves to go to the palace as well.
The Prince is desperately searching for his beloved among the young women summoned to the palace. Having not found her, he despairs, until Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother arrive. The Prince immediately recognizes Cinderella, and the pair declare their love to the court. Pandolfe and the rest of Cinderella’s family enter. Everyone rejoices and hails Cinderella as their future queen.
Synopsis courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera
This production has been made possible, in part, by grants from the Alabama Power Foundation, The Caring Foundation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Alabama State Council on the Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts.