COMPOSED BY

Sergey Prokofiev (April 1891 - March 1953) between 1940 and 1944

DURATION

Approximately 100 minutes (total 3 acts)

Instrumentation

2 flutes and piccolo, 2 oboes and cor anglais, 2 clarinets and bass clarinet, 2 bassoons and contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, triangle, castanets, snare drum, maracas, tambourine, tenor drum, cymbals, bass drum, tamtam, glockenspiel, xylophone, wood block, tubular bells, a piano, a harp, and strings.

ROLES

Cinderella (A lonely woman, servant to Stepmother), Fairy Godmother (A magician), Prince (In love with Cinderella), Stepmother (Matriarch of the house), Stepsisters (Daughters of Stepmother)

SUMMARY OF THE COMPOSITION

Cinderella, first performed in 1945, is a ballet that focuses on the poetic love of Cinderella and the Prince against lush sceneries and jubilant music. A fairy tale of comic, drama and love, it has since inspired many choreographers and is celebrated as one of Prokofiev’s most popular ballets besides Romeo and Juliet.

1

Act 1

Forced by her stepmother to act as a servant in her own home, Cinderella helps her stepmother and two stepsisters to prepare for the Spring Ball, for rumour has it that the Prince will choose his bride-to-be at the ball. Her father, like Cinderella, still grieves over his first wife’s death and just as much under the control of the stepmother. Cinderella defies her stepmother and stepsisters by offering a beggar woman a place to stay and an old pair of slippers. After her family had left for the ball, the beggar woman discards her disguise and reveals herself as Cinderella’s fairy godmother, granting Cinderella her wish of going to the ball on one condition: everything will revert to normal at midnight; only the pair of glass slippers remains.

2

Act 2

Upon transformation, Cinderella arrives at the palace beautifully dressed, unrecognised by everyone else. Entranced by her beauty and charm, the Prince asks her for the first dance and love blossoms between them. At the stroke of midnight, twelve dwarves spring out from the clock and remind her of her godmother’s warning. Fearful of being revealed as a servant in rags, she flees from the ballroom despite the Prince’s pursuit and vanishes into the night moments before the spell breaks. Upon finding Cinderella’s lost slipper, the Prince vows to find his beloved Cinderella and reunites with her.

3

Act 3

Love has allowed the Prince to defy the laws of time and space as he desperately tries a glass slipper on every girl he encounters. While the Prince has already travelled the world and back again in search of his lost love, Cinderella has just woken up in the morning at her home. The Prince arrives at her house and tries the slipper on the two stepsisters but to no avail. When Cinderella helps her stepmother to try on the slipper, the remaining glass slipper falls from her pocket and the Prince recognises her for who she is. Upon successfully trying on both glass slippers, Cinderella forgives her family and is later transported to her secret godmother, together with the Prince. They confess their love for one another and are happily married.

WHO IS ... SERGEI PROKOFIEV?

Suprising fun facts

  •  Prokofiev and Stravinsky were friends, but Prokofiev did not enjoy Stravinsky’s later works.

  • He was a skilled chess player who befriended world chess champions José Raúl Capablanca (whom he beat in 1914) and Mikhail Botvinnik.

  • Prokofiev also composed film music. In 1938, he collaborated with film director Eisenstein on Alexander Nevsky.

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