The Daughter of the Regiment, Opera by G. Donizetti
Gaetano Donizetti’s historical comedy, La fille du régiment, contains one of the most heartwarming tales in opera. A work with an undeniable joie de vivre and unashamedly happy ending, La fille du régiment is pure entertainment from start to finish.
Premiered on 11 February 1840 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, La fille du régiment is a love story set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteenth century. Marie, abandoned by her family in the midst of battle, is adopted by a company of soldiers. Now a woman, she falls for Tonio, a Tyrolean villager who has rescued her from a fall in the mountains and certain death but who is suspected by her comrades of being a spy. He saves his own skin by agreeing to join the army. Just as it seems that Marie and Tonio can be together, the Marquise of Birkenfeld whisks her away to her chateau on the pretext that Marie is her niece and that she must provide for her education. But all the while the Marquise has been hatching a plan to marry Marie off to the wealthy nephew of the Duchess of Krakenthorp.
La fille du régiment succeeds not just because it has some of the most joyful music ever written for the genre but ultimately, thanks to Donizetti’s sincerity, because we care about the fate of its two protagonists. Now this sparkling opera returns once again to the Wiener Staatsoper, a house where it has enjoyed several critically acclaimed productions in the past. Whatever the performance, music lovers can look forward with relish to its many highlights, not the least of which has to be Tonio's famous defiant Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête!, with its stirring cabaletta Pour mon âme. Punctuated by an astonishing number of high Cs, it is a showstopper that, time and time again, brings admiring audiences to their feet.