La Cenerentola (1817), based on the fairy tale Cinderella, is a comic opera by the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, who was then just 25 years old. Although La Cenerentola was not well received at first its popularity soon rallied: indeed throughout most of the 19th century its popularity rivalled that of The Barber of Seville which had been a phenomenal success for the composer the previous year.
Rossini completed La Cenerentola in just three weeks, saving time by recycling music from previous operas. In fact, the entire overture was ‘lifted’ from his unsuccessful La Gazzetta, which had only been performed a few times. It is not surprising, therefore, that the overture bears absolutely no musical resemblance to the opera that follows it – its purpose was simply to entertain the audience, letting them know that the real action was about to begin! The overture does, however, follow Rossini’s standard (but brilliant) form with a slow, grand introduction followed by a light, energetic, quicker section featuring the trademark “Rossini crescendo”.