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Opera Abbreviated: Donizetti's 'Daughter of the Regiment'

Marty Sohl
Metropolitan Opera
Pretty Yende as Marie in La Fille du Regiment

In 1972, I saw a production of Gaetano Donizetti's opera La Fille du Regiment ("The Daughter of the Regiment"), starring Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti. And in 1972, there were no two opera singers more famous, more skilled or greater. 

The two played childish, cartoon-like characters – a young girl raised by soldiers and the boy she loves – adding to the charm. And the voices!

The following year, Beverly Sills came to Boston and played the title role as a vocally stunning, glittering figure who would have been at home in I Love Lucy. There was nothing to do but cheer.

Whether you call it by its original French title, La Fille du Regiment, or Italian as La Figlia del Reggimento, or in English, The Daughter of the Regiment – what we have is a delightful bubble of a comedy. It may sound easy, but Donizetti’s regimental daughter requires singers of the first rank.

Here’s my take on this delightful comic opera.

The tenor sings nine – count 'em, nine – high Cs in his first aria. Miss one, and you may as well go home. Marie herself is never offstage, and she also has to dance and play the snare drum.

The Metropolitan Opera's production of Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment is presented live in HD in cinemas everywhere at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 2.

Don’t miss this charming production filled with high notes and high spirits. Pretty Yende sings the title role, with tenor Javier Camarena as her beloved Tonio.

And since you’ve been kind enough to listen and read this far, here’s Camarena at the Met a few weeks ago. The audience demanded he encore his nine Cs. Eighteen in one night!

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.
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