Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) was an Italian composer who is best known for writing 39 operas as well as sacred music, chamber music, songs, and works for piano. He is best known for his operas Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), La Cenerentola (Cinderella) and French epic Guillaume Tell (William Tell). Rossini began composing in his adolescence and was known as the most popular opera composer in history until he retired in 1829.
La Cenerentola was an opera Rossini composed in the span of three weeks at age 25 following the success of Il Barbiere di Siviglia the previous year. La Cenerentola is considered to have some of his best writing for solo voice and ensembles. The story is a variation of the traditional story of Cinderella, in which there is a wicked stepfather, Don Magnifico, rather than stepmother. The Fairy Godmother character is replaced by Alidoro, who is a philosopher and is also the tutor to the prince. Cinderella is identified based on a bracelet rather than a glass slipper.
Click here to watch Overture to La Cenerentola in Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Italy. An overture is an orchestral piece that acts as an instrumental introduction to an opera. Many of the themes and melodies found in the overture will be heard throughout the opera, presented in other ways.