A touching fairy tale about a shoe and love

Ballet in two acts

Libretto - Nikolay Volkov, based on the fairy tale by Charles Perrault

Music - Sergey Prokofiev

Choreography - Rostislav Zakharov

Premiere - November 11, 1945, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow

The best stories for ballet are fairy tales. They have everything: different characters, palaces, balls, magical transformations, an exciting plot and the struggle between good and evil, where, of course, good wins.

“Cinderella” by Charles Perrault fits perfectly into the language of classical choreography, especially when it is accompanied by the brilliant music of Sergei Prokofiev. This old tale of lost shoe, with roots going back to Ancient Egypt and China, has over 700 versions. It attracted composers many times.

Sergei Sergeevich, after the success of “Romeo and Juliet”, decided to create a ballet specifically for Galina Ulanova and chose the familiar story about a poor girl who, with the help of a fairy godmother, goes to a ball, meets a prince and finds happiness.

The process of creating of the ballet stopped because of The Second World War. Prokofiev worked on a patriotic opera "War and Peace" and only a few years later finished what he started. The premiere was held at the Bolshoi Theatre in November 1945 with great success, it became a kind of anthem of the Victory and was awarded by the Stalin Prize. For Sergei Prokofiev, this award was the fourth.
“The main thing that I wanted to convey in my music is the poetic love of Cinderella and the Prince, the birth and flowering of feelings, obstacles on their path, the realization of a dream,” the composer said. “I wrote Cinderella in the tradition of the old classical ballet. Each character has its own variation."

The ballet is performed on many stages of the world. One of the first well-known productions was Frederick Ashton's in London, where the ugly sisters and stepmother were performed by men. In 1987, Rudolf Nureyev introduced his production of Cinderella to the French public at the Paris Opera. Modern choreographers also do not leave ballet unattended.

For our theatre, this fairy tale by Charles Perrault is one of the most beloved. We present “Cinderella” in all her sweet splendor: classical pas in Cinderella's poor house, enthusiastic waltzes at the prince's ball, dances of the nations, magical transformations with the help of the fairy godmother and the futile attempts of stepmother and mischievous sisters to pull that shoe on their feet. By the way, the role of stepmother in our theatre is traditionally performed by a man, which invariably causes additional delight among the audience.
The dance master invites Cinderella’s stepmother and her two daughters to the prince's ball, Cinderella herself is sad and stays to clean the house. The fairy godmother wants to help her and with the help of her friends, the fairies of the seasons, gives Cinderella a beautiful dress and shoes, after that she sends her to the ball, but warns that she must return at midnight. Cinderella shines at the ball and runs away, as she was told, losing her shoe. The prince in love searches for the girl all over the world, but finds her in his kingdom: stepmother and sisters get angry, and the couple performs the dance of first love.
Act 1

A room in Cinderella's father's house. It's evening. Two girls are embroidering a silk scarf. These Cinderella's stepsisters. Stepmother doesn’t like Cinderella and forces her to do all the dirty work around the house alone. The embroidery does not last long - a quarrel arises between the sisters because a scarf. The sisters, dancing, tease the silent Cinderella. Outside the window, the sunset fades. Everyone leaves. Cinderella is left alone. She takes on her usual job of cleaning the room.
Full text
Good news arrive: the whole family is invited to the palace for a Prince’s ball. It's time to get dressed! The dance master requires a repetition of the learned dance. Finally, luxurious dresses are put on, magnificent hairstyles are made - it’s time to go. The house is empty. Cinderella is left alone with her sad thoughts. She plunges into the world of dreams, dreaming of the beautiful ball in the palace.
Suddenly the Fairy comes from nowhere. She undertakes to fulfill Cinderella's wish to attend the ball. Cinderella looked sadly at her old dress and worn shoes, and a pair of wonderful shiny shoes appeared in front of her at once. The room is lit up with magical light. By order of the Fairy, the fairies of the seasons come to dress Cinderella for the ball. The Fairy brings Cinderella to the old clock and says that at exactly midnight dwarfs will appear from them, they will warn her that it is time to return home. Exactly at midnight, she must leave the ball, otherwise she will turn into a mess again. Joyful Cinderella goes to the palace.

A magnificent ball in the palace takes place. Guests walk importantly in a decorous court dance. At this moment, Cinderella appears. She is so beautiful that all eyes turn to her. The dancing is interrupted. The Prince cannot take his eyes off her. But he himself, with his beauty, masculinity, captivates the heart of a girl. Cinderella feels comfortable and free in the palace. She approaches her sisters, who don't recognize her in this gorgeous outfit. Amid the fun and dancing, the happy Cinderella completely forgets about time. But suddenly a dwarf appears: "It's time, Cinderella!" - he reminds her of an old clock. "It's time!" - the pendulum thumps inexorably, and Cinderella rushes headlong from the palace. Midnight strikes. In her haste, Cinderella loses her shoe. Like a whirlwind, the Prince rushes after her. Suddenly, the moonbeam falls directly on the shoe. The Prince picks it up and joyfully presses it to his heart: with this shoe he will be able, perhaps, to find the one he fell in love with at first sight.

Act 2

The Prince has lost his peace and demands to find the owner of the shoe. He decides to go in search of a stranger himself. He travels all over the world and meets many beauties, but in none of them he finds even a remote resemblance to the girl who captured his heart. Disappointed and sad, the Prince returns to his hometown.

Cinderella's house. Everyone is in turmoil: the Prince is approaching, he is still looking for the girl who lost her shoe at the court ball. Sisters and Stepmother flatteringly bow to the Prince, they try on the shoe given to them, but in vain: it is too small and none of them fit. Suddenly, Cinderella runs into the foreground and puts a second shoe in front oа everybody. It’s exactly the same shoe with which the Prince made a search! Stepmother and sisters are unable to utter a word because of surprise and amazement, and the happy couple performs a dance of love.