Opera Tickets Italy

    La fille du régiment, Opera by G. Donizetti

    La fille du régiment, Opera by G. Donizetti

    Gaetano Donizetti’s productive French period found one of its pinnacles with La fille du régiment, a comedy opera that premiered at the Opéra-Comique’s Salle de la Bourse in Paris on 11 February 1840. While the press reacted with mild annoyance at the Italian composer’s seeming complete dominance of Parisian theatres and an off-pitch tenor nearly derailed the opera’s debut, the work quickly picked up steam and carved out a place for itself in the operatic catalogue. Donizetti would later produce a slightly altered Italian version, but the French original remains more popular. This season, Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice presents a production of La fille du régiment that sparks with all the joy and vivacity of the beloved original.

    French for ‘The Daughter of the Regiment’, the opera tells the story of Marie, a wartime orphan who has been adopted and raised by the French army’s 21st Regiment. The libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François Bayard has just enough melodrama and humour in spades to keep audiences hooked. The grown-up Marie serves as her regiment’s canteen girl during the Napoleonic Wars. She meets and falls in love with Tonio, a Tyrolean who is first taken prisoner by the regiment but later receives a pardon from Sergeant Sulpice, its leader and Marie’s father figure. An encounter with the Marquise of Berkenfield suddenly turns Marie’a world around: once thought an orphan, she turns out to be the noblewoman’s niece. At the Marquise’s invitation, she reclaims her aristocratic roots and takes up the life of a young court lady.

    However, La fille du régiment would not be a Donizetti masterpiece without a few more dramatic twists and turns and a whole lot of humorous situations and memorable melodies. As Marie and Tonio negotiate their new relationship and the Marquise is forced to reveal more family secrets, fantastic arias and duets follow one another. Keep an ear out for the tenor highlight ‘Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête!’ and its nine high C’s.

    image Gran Teatro La Fenice / Fondazione Teatro La Fenice, Michele Crosera