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The Sunday Opera: Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment" from Maribor Opera

A delightfully comic romp featuring a happy ending is featured on this week’s Sunday Opera (11/21 3:00 p.m.) in Gaetano Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment” in a production from the SNG Maribor Opera in Slovenia.   The Napoleonic War is raging in the Tyrol, but the young vivandiere (canteen girl) Marie (Petya Ivanova) is quite happy with her “fathers,” the 21st Regiment of the French Army stationed there.   They found the abandoned Marie on the battlefield, and all of the soldiers adopted her as their own.   Chief among them is Sergeant Sulpice (Jaki Jurgec) to whom Marie always turns when she has a problem, and one problem arises in the form of a local young man, Tonio (Martin Susnik), who has fallen in love with Marie after saving her when she almost fell while mountain climbing.   Enter the Marquise of Berkenfield (Irena Petkova) and her butler Hortensius (Dusan Topolovec) who have been waylaid by the fighting on their way home and ask Sulpice for protection.  Sulpice recognizes the Marquise’s name as that found on a letter with Marie, and the Marquise tells him that Marie must be her long-lost niece.  Unhappily, her fathers bid her farewell, and Marie heads off to become a lady.  

Of course, things don’t go as planned as it seems to be very hard to de-soldier Marie, and in the second act, truths are revealed, an unwanted marriage is avoided, and Marie is reunited with Tonio to everyone’s satisfaction. 

“La Fille du Regiment” contains one of opera’s most well-known showpieces in Tonio’s aria “Ah! Mes amis” which features eight (or nine if the tenor is feeling brave) high C’s!  

Simon Robinson conducts the SNG Maribor Opera Chorus and Orchestra.  

Join Michael Kownacky after the opera for a second Donizetti opera, the long forgotten “Le Nozze in Villa.”  This comedy from 1882 has been lost since its premiere and was reconstructed from a recently found score for the premier recording to which we’ll be listening.   Join us for a happy afternoon featuring some charming music and two happy endings, and we all need happy endings!

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.