The market of a fairy town. It only seems that there stand baskets for vegetables and boxes for fruit. As a matter of fact, these are big and small houses, where fruit and vegetables live; they look like people so much.
The Radish’s family meets the Onion’s family. Mother Cipolla and father Cipollone call to order restless Cipollino, who is tired to nurse his sister Cipollet. The master Grape repairs shoes there. God-father Pumpkin looks for bricks to build a house for him. Professor Pear plays fiddle and all the people of this fairy town dance.
Suddenly, Signor Tomato bursts onto the square and announces that Prince Lemon who wants to speak with his people is arriving soon. The Prince has issued a new law: everyone has to pay for the sun that shines, for the rain that falls, for the wind that blows.
People are indignant. In the formed turmoil Cipollino treaded on Lemon’s foot. The guard is in resentment — the Prince is insulted! The “rebel” should be punished. But he disappears and the guard arrests the old Cipollone.
Not only is the Onion’s family in pain. It’s not easy for the Pumpkin – he can not build a house himself. And the people of the town help him in this. As soon as the building is ready, again appears Signor Tomato. He has nearly broiled with anger, when he saw the house, which was built on Countesses Cherry’s land. Nobody except them had the right to use it. The Lemon’s Guards destroy the Pumpkin’s house. Poor old man is in despair. Cipollino decides to take vengeance on his offenders.
Cipollino together with his girl-friend Radish go to the Castle to find the cave where the old Cipollone is languishing in captivity. On their way they meet the Count Cherry, who is tired of living lonely in the Castle and they become friends. While searching the prisoner they nearly fall into to the Signor Tomato’s hands, but they were lucky to escape. During the ball that Count Cherry gives in honor of Prince Lemon the friends set free Cipollone.
The Lemon-Guards and the police are looking everywhere for the fugitives. Cipollino hides his father and then Radish, but the guards surround Cipollino and throw him into the cave.
It is silent in the Castle. Cherry and beautiful Magnolia are searching for Cipollino. Magnolia by means of her aroma makes drunk the guards and puts them to sleep. Cherry binds them and sets Cipollino free.
Prince Lemon goes down to the cave to punish the unfit rebel and sees that the guard is tied and the cave is empty. The infuriated Prince gives the order to shoot the town from cannon. But Cipollino and his friends load Prince Lemon into the cannon.
The smoke cleared . . . There is no Lemon, no cannon, and no guard.
From now on everyone will live peacefully in the town. A new town will grow under the warm sun and the blue sky — the town of friends!
Libretto: Gennady Rihlov, version Genrikh Mayorov
based on the "Adventures of Cipollino" tale by Gianni Rodari
Choreography: Genrikh Mayorov
Set Design: Iurie Matei, People's Artist
Costume Design: Elena Rapai
Music Director: Alfred Gershfeld
World Premiere: November 8, 1974, Ukrainian Academic Ballet and Opera Theatre named after Taras Shevchenko, Kiev
Premiere in Chisinau: December 1, 1986, at Moldovan Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, Chisinau.
Premiere of the current version: June 26, 2009 at the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet "Maria Biesu"
Running time: 2 hours 10 min (two intervals)
ballet in three acts by Karen Khachaturian