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World of Opera on NPR recently offered a great feature on La Cenerentola at A Fairytale Grows Up: Rossini's 'La Cenerentola'.
So it's not surprising that it was Gioachino Rossini, the master of bubbly comedies with poignant moments scattered among the laughs, who composed the most popular operatic take on Cinderella — La Cenerentola. It's one of Rossini's funniest operas, but with a serious side to remind us that the happy ending to Cinderella's story wasn't just a gift from some benevolent fairy. On her journey from servant's quarters to a princess' throne, she faces some real dangers. In overcoming them, she displays a gentle and tolerant spirit, some profoundly adult insights, and the pluck and courage to defy everyone who stands in her way.
On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone presents La Cenerentola in a production from one of the world's foremost celebrations of Rossini's genius, the annual Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy, the composer's hometown. The stars are soprano Kate Aldrich as Cinderella and tenor Lawrence Brownlee as her Prince Charming, Ramiro, with baritone Paolo Bordogna as Don Magnifico.
There is a synopsis of each act as well as shorts from the opera to listen to along with some images. It's a nice way to become familiar with the opera if you are interested. I was amused by the labeling of 'Non piu mesta' as the hit single from the opera.
In the opera's final scene, Cinderella (mezzo-soprano Kate Aldrich) is left to decide the fate of her abusive family. She forgives them, then sings the spectacular aria 'Non piu mesta' — 'No longer sad' — with the chorus joining in to praise her generosity.