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.
News and features
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.
25 February 2014
A quick guide to Donizetti's exuberant comedy.
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.