The countryside outside Moscow
It is an idyllic summer afternoon and a picnic is in progress to celebrate Cinderella’s birthday. Her Father, Count Serbrenska, gives her a present and they are joined by Cinderella’s Stepmother and her Stepsisters, Natasha and Sophia.
Prince and Princess Mulakov, who are good friends of the Count, arrive with their son, Prince Mikhail. As the afternoon continues, the young people play and the adults stroll or join a shooting party on the other side of the river.
Natasha and Sophia decide to play a game with Cinderella’s shawl, the gift from her Father, and accidently throw it to the other side of the bridge. Having been warned not to cross the river the girls do not follow. Cinderella’s Father, seeing how upset his daughter is, goes to retrieve the shawl when tragedy strikes.
Cinderella’s Stepmother, falling into grief and despair, reaches out to her daughters but, blaming her for the Count’s death, offers no comfort to Cinderella.
Summer passes and as the bereaved family arrive at their new house in Moscow, Cinderella’s Stepmother makes it clear that Cinderella’s new life is no longer as a daughter but as a servant for her family.
A winter market in Moscow
Time has passed and Cinderella is shopping at the winter market. Released momentarily from the drudgery of her servant life she enjoys watching the spectacle of the Stilt Walkers, Acrobats, Jugglers and a Magician.
The Prince and his friends watch on as the Magician starts his performance but his tricks are unimpressive. Cinderella recognises the Prince as the young boy from the picnic years ago. The Prince doesn’t even look at the poor young woman that Cinderella has become.
Cinderella returns home followed by her Stepsisters who are excited about the events at the market. They want Cinderella to join in with their games but the Stepmother reminds her that she is not to have anything to do with her daughters. Cinderella reaches out to her Stepmother who rejects her once again.
The crystal lake
Cinderella flees to the beautiful crystal lake; her sole refuge from the life she leads. The lake is full of skaters and amongst them is the Prince, his friends and the Magician from the market. Cinderella’s ice-dancing is impressive and catches everyone’s attention.
On returning home, Cinderella finds her Stepsisters have received invitations to a winter ball. Cinderella has been invited too but her Stepmother rips up her invitation and reminds Cinderella that she belongs downstairs.
Cold and alone in the kitchen Cinderella thinks sadly of the past and of what her life has become. Hearing a knock at the door she finds the Magician from the market square shivering in the dark. Finding comfort in his company she invites him in. The Magician, inspired by Cinderella’s generosity, insists that Cinderella will go to the ball. He creates amazing magic and by so doing changes Cinderella’s destiny.
The winter ball
Guests arrive at the winter ball, including the Prince, his parents and his best friend, Nikolai. All the ladies hope the Prince will choose them to dance. Cinderella arrives shimmering like ice and no-one, except her Stepmother and Stepsisters know who she is. The Prince asks Cinderella to dance.
Cinderella’s Stepmother tries to interrupt them and Cinderella runs away, ashamed that her life as a servant might be revealed. In her haste she leaves behind one of her crystal slippers!
Cinderella runs home, her clothes returned to normal, her sleigh gone - it seems the magic has ended.
The drawing room
The Prince is in search of the girl from the ball and shows the family the slipper. He ignores Cinderella as she serves the company but her Stepmother shows the Prince that this is the girl who fits the shoe. Feeling fooled and embarrassed he becomes angry and flees the room.
Cinderella is humiliated and for the first time, stands up to her Stepmother. No longer accepting her servant’s life, she leaves.
The crystal lake
The Magician is skating on the lake when the Prince arrives in a very agitated state. Nikolai offers to break the shoe putting an end to the Prince’s woe. The Prince quickly stops him, realising that his heart belongs to the woman who fits the shoe.
Cinderella appears at the lake to say goodbye. Watched by his friends and the Magician, the Prince implores Cinderella to stay, apologising for his behaviour and finally declaring his love for her.