Teatro Real of Madrid opens its 100th season with “La Cenerentola”, by Gioachino Rossini

The production, directed by Stefan Herheim, is an ingenious costume game, with a frenetic pace, in which the imagination flies on the wings of the tale. Riccardo Frizza returns to work with the Titulares Choir and Orchestra of the Teatro Real 14 years after having conducted, in 2007, the Italian and French versions of Tancredi, also by Rossini. The premiere of La Cenerentola, on September 23 at 7:30 p.m., will be broadcast live on TVE’s La 2 and on MyOperaPlayer, in an audiovisual co-production by Teatro Real and RTVE.


Teatro Real opens the 2021-2022 Season on September 23rd – the twenty-fifth since the reopening and the hundredth since its inauguration – with La Cenerentola, by Gioachino Rossini.


15 performances of the opera will be offered, between the September 20 Young Preview of the Season and October 9, in a co-production of the Den Norske Opera in Oslo and the Opéra National de Lyon presented in both theaters in 2017, precisely two centuries after its premiere at the Teatro Valle in Rome, in 1817.


In fact, La Cenerentola, ossia la bontà in trionfo (Cinderella, that is, The Triumph of Goodness) was composed against the clock, in a record time of 24 days, with astonishing speed and synchronous coordination between the librettist Jacopo Ferretti and Gioachino Rossini, who at 25 was already a consecrated composer, with 19 operas in his catalog, including such popular titles as Tancredi, L’italiana in Algeri, Il Turco in Italia, Otello or El barbero de Sevilla


Faced with the pressure of time, Rossini worked piecemeal, reusing fragments of previous operas, as he used to do, in addition to counting on the collaboration of Luca Agolini for the writing of the recitatives.



Due to the limited technical possibilities of the Roman theater setting and the pressure of the premiere, Rossini and Ferretti decided to use a version of the Cinderella story stripped of its fantastic elements: the wicked stepmother was replaced by the mean stepfather Don Magnífico; the fairy godmother disappears, leaving Alidoro as the ‘godfather’ of the unfortunate maid, and the iconic shoe is replaced by a simple bracelet.


Both the profile of the characters and the score reveal a perfect osmosis between the tradition of the giocoso dramma and the comic opera with Don Magnifico and Dandini, heirs of the commedia dell’arte and elements of an already romantic ‘realism’ represented by the philosopher Alidoro or the leading couple.


With his astonishing melodic richness and a brilliantly effective orchestral palette, Rossini delights in the humor of the characters and the great situations, the ensemble numbers, but also with bel canto arias with great sentimental arias and vocal virtuosity.


Stefan Herheim’s staging returns to the Cinderella story its thaumaturgical elements, giving Rossini himself a ‘magic baton’ with which to bring his irreverent characters to life, in a permanent illusionistic game closer to Lewis Carroll’s universe than to by Charles Perrault.


Herheim recreates himself with the costume game of the opera, dressing Rossini as Don Magnífico, in a clear nod to the famous production of La Cenerentola by Jean Pierre Ponnelle, in which Rossini was hiding behind Alidoro and was brilliantly starred by Teresa Berganza .


A double cast will give life to the characters of La Cenerentola, led by the mezzo-sopranos Karine Deshayes and Aigul Akhmetshina. They will be accompanied by the tenors Dmitry Korchak and Michele Angelini (Don Ramiro); the baritones Renato Girolami and Nicola Alaimo (Don Magnífico) and Florian Sempey and Borja Quiza (Dandini); the basses Roberto Tagliavini and Riccardo Fassi (Alidoro), the sopranos Rocío Pérez and Natalia Labourdette (Clorinda) and the mezzo-soprano Carol García (Tisbe).


The musical direction will be in charge of Riccardo Frizza, who already directed the two versions of Tancredi, also by Rossini, at the Teatro Real in 2007. It will have the Titulares Choir and Orchestra of the Teatro Real, who will perform La Cenerentola again 20 years later. of the last production of this title presented at the Real, with musical direction by Carlo Rizzi and stage direction by Jérôme Savary, in 2007.