"Nacqui all’affanno... Non più mesta"
Born to sorrow... sad no longer
I was born to sorrow and tears,
My heart suffered silently;
But by a sweet enchantment
In the flower of my youth,
Like a lightning flash,
Fate changed my life.
No, no, no, no, dry your eyes:
Why are you trembling, why?
Fly to my embrace,
Daughter, sister, friend –
All these you will find in me.
No longer shall I sit sadly by the fire
Singing all alone, no!
My long years of sadness
Were like a flash, a dream, a game.
La Cenerentola tells the tale of Angelina, known as Cenerentola (Cinderella) who is maid to her father, Don Magnifico, and her step-sisters, Clorinda and Tisbe. Magnifico has hopes one of them might marry the prince, Don Ramiro, who is looking for bride.
The prince’s tutor, Alidoro, comes to the house disguised as a beggar; only Cenerentola treats him with any kindness. Later, Ramiro (also in disguise) comes to the house; he and Cenerentola are immediately taken with one another. Then the prince arrives – in reality, Ramiro’s valet, Dandini. Magnifico, Clorinda, and Tisbe flatter him outrageously, and he invites them to the ball where he will choose his bride. When Cenerentola asks to come as well, Magnifico forbids it and claims that his third daughter has died. Left alone with Cenerentola, Alidoro tells her he will take her to the ball.
At the ball, the sisters try to charm the prince (still Dandini) and refuse the consolation prize he suggests of marriage to his servant (in reality, Ramiro, the prince). Alidoro enters with a beautiful unknown lady who, strangely, resembles Cenerentola.
Dandini pursues her but she rejects him, saying she loves his servant, Ramiro, who is overjoyed. Cenerentola, however, tells him she must go; if her loves her, he will find her again.
When Magnifico and his daughters discover Dandini is not the prince, they are furious. Returning home in a foul mood, they order Cenerentola to prepare supper. During a thunderstorm, Ramiro (as his princely self) appears, seeking shelter from the storm, and finds his love, Cenerentola.
Cenerentola and Ramiro are married. Magnifico tries to win favour with the new princess, but she asks only to be finally acknowledged as his daughter. Born to misfortune, her life has been transformed - her days of sitting by the fire are over.