Madame de le Haltière’s servants are already stressed. The bells will not stop ringing and no one knows where to start (‘On appelle, on sonne!’). They cannot stand Madame de la Haltière. Gentle Pandolfe finds a scene of chaos as he enters the room (‘Continuez … ce n’est que moi’). He does not want to disturb their work, but tries to understand what is going on. The servants like Pandolfe as he in kind to them, but they despair at ‘Madame’. Pandolfe tells them to go and answer the bell that keeps ringing.
As he stands alone in the room, Pandolfe considers how he should be more assertive with his wife (‘Du côté de la barbe est la toute puissance’). He knows it is impossible for him, and asks the gods why he ever chose to leave his peaceful little farm in the forest in exchange for a marriage to a fierce countess and two stepdaughters. But all of his suffering is nothing compared to how they treat his own daughter. She is an outcast, forced to hide herself in the house, and left
Cendrillon (Massenet) guide sections