• Stephen Oliver
  • Cinderella - The Vindication of Sloth (1991)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by Jonathan Gilli for BC TV

  • pic.bcl/tpt/pf.syn/vn.db
  • 4 Sopranos
  • 8 min
  • Stephen Oliver
  • English

Programme Note


An unusual reworking of the fairy story in which the fat and lazy Cinderella resists the Devil’s temptations and refuses to go to the ball as it is too much effort. Her sloth is vindicated as midnight strikes and the palace explodes.


Cinderella, or The Vindication of Sloth, was Stephen Oliver's contribution to the BBC Television series that took a fresh look at the Seven Deadly Sins. The opera was originally conceived to be acted by adults but sung by boy trebles, and thus makes a welcome addition to Stephen Oliver's music for young performers. In this humorous version of the well known tale, Cinderella is too lazy to get up and go to the ball, even though her sisters encourage her to do so. She settles down to a quiet evening of over eating by the fire, but is interrupted by the appearance of a strange little man with horns, a forked tail and cloven hooves. He too attempts to persuade her to attend the ball, citing six of the Seven Deadly Sins as inducements, but she refuses. At the stroke of midnight the Prince's castle explodes, and Cinderella realises that her diabolical guest had wanted her to be caught in the explosion. The devil disappears and Cinderella's sisters return home, black with smoke, their clothes torn to shreds. As she comforts them, Cinderella delivers the moral of the opera - "Of the Seven Deadly Sins with their devilish tricks, Sloth prevents you committing all the other six!"