Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of La Fille du régiment. It was last on stage 3–18 March 2014 as part of the Spring 2013/14 season.
Marie was found on a battlefield as a baby and adopted by a regiment of soldiers. When she falls for Tonio – a civilian – she faces a choice between love and her adopted family.
La Fille du régiment had its premiere at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1840. Its combination of comedy, genuine feeling and patriotic sentiment soon made it a national institution, and it was regularly revived on Bastille Day in France. The opera had a long absence from Covent Garden, but in 1966 Joan Sutherland reintroduced it to London. She played the irrepressible heroine, Marie, with Luciano Pavarotti as her lover, Tonio. La Fille returned to the Royal Opera House in 2007 in Laurent Pelly's delightful production, which has since toured the world.
Pelly's production fizzes with exuberant humour. It features wonderfully inventive sets: large maps evoke the mountains of Tyrol, the regiment’s camp drowns in laundry and an armoured tank bursts into a drawing room. Gaetano Donizetti’s score weaves robust, military melodies with moments of pathos. Musical highlights include the bravura tenor aria 'Pour mon âme', with its vertical leaps to a succession of high Cs, and the delightful duet 'Quoi? vous m'aimez!' in which Tonio expresses his love for Marie.
News and features
30 April 2015
How changing singing styles made the heroes of such operas as Guillaume Tell sound more dangerous.
10 March 2014
March sees an exceptional release from Juan Diego Flórez and two brilliant Jonas Kaufmann recordings.
5 March 2014
The Peruvian tenor tells BBC Radio 3 about his changing voice, approaches to rehearsals and his charitable work.
4 March 2014
What did you think of Donizetti's charming comedy?
1 March 2014
A look at the surprising influence Donizetti's charming opéra comique had on 19th-century Italian opera.
26 February 2014
We explore Tonio's beautifully lyrical aria from Donizetti's opera La Fille du régiment.
La fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) is an opéra comique in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti, set to a French libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François Bayard. It was first performed on 11 February 1840 by the Paris Opéra-Comique at the Salle de la Bourse. The opera was written by Donizetti while he was living in Paris between 1838 and 1840 preparing a revised version of his then-unperformed Italian opera, Poliuto as Les martyrs for the Paris Opéra. Since Martyrs was delayed, the composer had time to write the music for La fille, his first opera set to a French text, as well as to stage the French version of Lucia di Lammermoor as Lucie de Lammermoor As La fille, it quickly became a popular success, partly because of the famous aria "Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête!", which requires of the tenor no fewer than nine high Cs. La figlia del reggimento, a slightly different Italian-language version (in translation by Calisto Bassi), was adapted to the tastes of the Italian public.