Nicolo Isouard: Cendrillon by EnsembleGram

Nicolo Isouard (1775-1818)

Cendrillon 

Cendrillon Ludmilla Shilova, soprano
Clorinde Byung Soon Lee, soprano 
Thisbé Marian Sjölander, soprano
The Prince Nikolai Doroshkin, tenor
Alidor Hans Pieter Herman, baritone
The Baron Valery Plankin, baritone
Dandini Andre Andryanov, tenor
Ensemble XXI Moscow conducted by Richard Bonynge
Musical Director: Lygia O’Riordan
Maria Struve Children’s Capella
French language and drama coach: Marie - Claire 


1 Overture 
ACT I
2 Quartet Clorinde, Thisbé, Cendrillon, Alidor - Arrangeons ces fleurs, ces dentelles…
3 Romance Cendrillon - Je suis modeste et soumise… 
4 Duet Prince, Alidor - Mon fils, mon fils, que ce moment est doux… 
5 Duet Clorinde, Thisbé - Ah! Quel plaisir… 
6 Hunting Chorus - O l’heureuse journée, toujours nouveau plaisir…
7 Finale - Allons! Allons, allons, que tout s’apprête… 

ACT II
8 Entr’acte Prince, Baron, Dandini, Alidor, Clorinde, Thisbé - Doux sommeil, sur l’innocence…
9 Aria Alidor, Cendrillon - Conservez bien votre bonté… 
10 Duet Clorinde, Thisbe - Qui, vous ma souveraine…
11 Romance Prince - O sexe aimable mais trompeur…
12 Duet Cendrillon - Prince  Ah! La victoire m’est promise
13 Cendrillon Dans quel trouble il m’a jetée!; Finale - A la plus belle offrons nos vœux… 
14 Boléro Clorinde  Couronnons – nous de fleurs nouvelles…

ACT III
15 Recitative and Aria Thisbé -  Dieux! Quel évenement!
16 Trio Clorinde,Thisbé, Cendrillon - Vous l’épouserez…
17 Duet Prince, Cendrillon, Ensemble - Ciel! Quel étonnant rapport!

Synopsis

ACT 1

Scene I

The opera begins with Cinderella bemoaning her fate in the household of the Baron of Montefiascone, her Stepfather. Her Stepfather and her Stepsisters, Tisbé and Clorinde constantly demand her services. The Astrologer and Scholar, Alidor has taken it upon himself to rescue Cendrillon from her plight. He disguises himself as a beggar. Cendrillon feeds him much to the disgust of the sisters Tisbé and Clorinde.

Unexpectedly the Prince is hunting in the vicinity. The Baron and his daughters panic as they are not ready to receive him and are still breakfasting. Cendrillon is summoned by everyone so that they might be ready to greet the Prince.

The young Prince has been told that, in order to fulfil the wishes of his father’s will, he must find a bride. He arrives and meets with Cendrillon whom he mistakes to be one of the Baron’s daughters. She tells him that her mother, the second wife of the Baron, died, leaving her an orphan. In private, his confidante and teacher, Alidor, tells the Prince that, if he is to find true love he must disguise himself as an equery. As an equerry, he says, he will discover many secrets of life. Alidor organises for the prince’s valet, Dandini, to disguise himself as the Prince

Scene II

Tisbé, Clorinde and the Baron now appear. Tisbé and Clorinde turn up their noses at the “common equerry” (who is, in fact, the young Prince). The equerry announces that the Prince himself has heard many complimentary things about the sisters and will personally come to take them to the ball. Tisbé and Clorinde panic and yet again demand the services of Cendrillon in order to be presentable for the arrival of the Prince. Cendrillon begs to be allowed to go to the ball with them, to hide and to watch the grand proceedings. Tisbé and Clorinde sneer at her. Dandini arrives disguised as the Prince. He compliments the Baron on his daughters. They depart for the ball.

Scene III

Alidor casts a spell over Cendrillon. She is transported in her sleep to the ball. She awakes and does not know where she is. She is dressed in a magnificent gown. Alidor tells her that this has happened because of all her good deeds. He gives her a rose and tells her that as long as she holds it, she will remain invisible. Clorinde, Tisbé and the Baron arrive at the ball. They all shower the Prince (actually the equerry in disguise) with compliments. Tisbé and Clorinde argue as to which of them he has fallen in love with. The Prince (Dandini) is shocked at their arrogance and vanity.

Scene IV

Cendrillon observes the equerry ( the Prince in disguise) and takes pity on him. His features portray such sadness. They speak and compare their lives. their self sacrificing lives have been equally unappreciated. The equerry says that no will ever love him for he has nothing to offer except his heart and a simple cottage. He tries to discover the identity of Cendrillon but she demurs. A signal is heard for the start of the grand tournament to win the hearts of the ladies of the land. The equerry declares himself as the Knight to defend the beauty of Cendrillon.

Act II

Scene I

Cendrillon’s feelings are still in turmoil at the declaration of love by the equerry. Alidor arrives. Cendrillon declares that she is fearful of these emotions that have overtaken her. She cannot understand why the rose does not protect her from these feelings. Alidor declares that the rose is powerless against love. At this moment the Baron and his daughters, Tisbé and Clorinde arrive. They are consumed with curiosity as to the identity of the beautiful young woman in such fine clothes (Cendrillon). They introduce themselves. Cendrillon asks the Baron if he has any other children. He replies that he has not. Alidor mentions Cendrillon. The Baron declares that “she is not part of my family”. The Baron then requests from Alidor the identity of Cendrillon. Alidor states only that she has been rejected by her father. The Baron is shocked.  The scene ends with the tournament chorus, the Prince and Cendrillon and a Bolero with Clorinde.

Scene II

Tisbé sings of her fury that she has lost the love of the Prince. He is obsessed with finding the mysterious woman who has left behind a beautiful little slipper. Clorinde appears and she and Tisbé discuss the disappearance of the mystery woman. The court is in turmoil. Dandini arrives (disguised as the Prince). He announces that he wishes to be loved for himself and not for his crown. Tisbé and Clorinde agree with him and declare their undying love even if he only would own a cottage. The Baron arrives and announces, to the horror of Tisbé and Clorinde that the equerry was actually the Prince in disguise. He tells them that the so-called Prince is actually the valet Dandini.

Scene III

The tournament continues to find the Prince’s bride. Tisbé and Clorinde refuse to even contemplate the idea that one of them would marry the equerry although their father is insistent that one of them must do so. They sneer at the equerry’s 

offer of “a heart and a cottage”.  Cendrillon arrives, much to the horror of Tisbé and Clorinde. She declares her rights as a woman of noble birth to take part in the tournament. They jeer at her. They then try to get her to take the hand of the equerry (who formerly had been disguised as the Prince).Cendrillon declares that she was not attracted to him when he  posed as a Prince and that she is still not attracted to him as a equerry.The sisters are furious.

Scene IV

Cendrillon is now alone and devastated that the man she thought was a equerry and the man with whom she fell in love was in reality the Prince. The Prince arrives back at the castle and finds Cendrillon in her normal clothes and does not recognise her. He tells her that he left her in tears when she could not go to the ball and returns to find her still in tears. She tells him that she dreamt of the ball and relates that she saw a beautiful mysterious lady at the ball with whom he fell in love. The Prince replies that he will never forget that beautiful woman and that his heart will always be hers. He tells of his anguish when she abandoned him. Cendrillon tells him that the beautiful woman has returned. He does not understand. She tells him, to his amazement that when she, Cendrillon returned from the dream, the beautiful lady also returned. His are eyes are opened and he recognises in Cendrillon the beautiful woman with whom he has fallen in love. They marry amongst great festivities throughout the Principality.

copyright © Lygia O'Riordan