Cenerentola, Ballet by Jiří Bubeníček
Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino is staging Sergei Prokofiev’s famous ballet Cenerentola (or Cinderella), the musical score of which has inspired numerous choreographers. This season it is the setting of Jiří Bubeníček that will grace the stage of the beloved theatre in the heart of Florence. Cinderella had its premiere at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow on 21 November 1945 after Prokofiev took about four years, with pauses, to complete the score. The libretto was the work of Nikolai Volkov, and Rostislav Zakharov created the first original choreography. Thanks to its popular plot but mainly because of Prokofiev’s inspiring score, Cinderella has become a staple of the ballet repertoire and enjoys regular revivals and reinventions. Bubeníček offers another fresh version of the beloved work in Florence now.
Prokofiev’s Cinderella is a narrative ballet in three acts, with a lot of humour and jubilation. The titular character immediately wins the audiences’ hearts with her grace and charm, while the dominant stepmother and the two silly and mean stepsisters provide an exciting counterpoint and add tension to the storyline. While the women bicker and tell her and her father off during their preparations for the Prince’s Spring Ball, Cinderella maintains her kindness and optimism. She offers help to a scruffy beggar woman who later on reveals herself to be her fairy godmother. With a beautiful dress and the famous glass slippers, Cinderella heads to the Spring Ball where the Prince’s heart is hers for the taking. But will the two overcome the sudden separation at midnight, and will true love find its way, as in the original story by Charles Perrault?
Prokofiev paired the fairy-tale plot of Cinderella with some of his most melodious and uplifting music. The ballet’s score is largely responsible for the work’s longevity and worldwide appeal. With arrangement for a full orchestra and a number of classical dances packed in, Cinderella delivers a remarkable audio-visual experience. With the new choreography by Bubeníček, the performance at Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino is another great chapter in the ballet’s storied lifetime.