Arrow down iconArrow left iconArrow right iconArrow up iconAudio iconBasket iconClose iconDocument iconExclamation mark iconMenu iconPhoto iconQuotation markQuote iconTick iconUser icon

La Fille du régiment

Donizetti's sparkling French comic opera is given hilarious, eye-catching treatment by director Laurent Pelly.

Most recent performance

There are currently no scheduled performances of La Fille du régiment. It was last on stage 8–20 July 2019 as part of the Summer 2018/19 season.

The Story

Marie was found on a battlefield as a baby, and raised by the entire 21st Regiment as their 'daughter'. Her foster-father Sulpice has decreed that she should marry a soldier from the Regiment. When Marie falls for the Tyrolean Tonio, it looks as though she may have to choose between her family and true love.

The situation becomes still more fraught when the haughty Marquise de Berkenfield arrives on the scene. She discovers that Marie is her niece, and insists on taking her away to bring her up as a lady. Tonio, who has joined the Regiment in order to marry Marie, is in despair. So is Marie, and matters get worse in her new home: she hates ladylike pursuits and is horrified to learn that she must make an aristocratic marriage. Can she get out of it without losing her aunt's affection? And will she ever see Tonio again? Yes, if the 21st Regiment has anything to do with it…

Background

Laurent Pelly's production of La Fille du régiment is packed with humour and invention. The soldiers tramp over immense maps evoking the mountainous Tyrol, Marie irons mounds of laundry and peels sacks of potatoes, and Tonio rides into the Marquise's elegant drawing room on a tank. Crisply witty spoken dialogue (modernized by Agathe Mélinand) punctuates a score that combines catchy military tunes - the regimental song 'Chacun le sait' is especially stirring - with episodes of pathos, such as Marie's yearning 'Il faut partir' and Tonio's ardent 'Pour me rapprocher de Marie'. Other highlights include Tonio's bravura aria 'Pour mon âme', in which the tenor leaps to a succession of high Cs in one of opera's great showpieces.

Donizetti wrote La Fille du régiment towards the end of his 1838-40 stay in Paris. The opera had its premiere at the Opéra-Comique on 11 February 1840, quickly became popular and had further success in Italy in translation. It remained in the Opéra-Comique repertory for years, with 1,000 performances given between 1840 and 1908. Performances on Bastille Day were particularly popular! It was first heard in London at Her Majesty's Theatre in 1847, and finally had a triumphant premiere at Covent Garden in 1966 with virtuoso singers Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti as Marie and Tonio. Following another long absence, it became a regular part of The Royal Opera's repertory from 2007.

News and features

View more