The Daughter of the Regiment

Music and Lyrics by Gaetano Donizetti
Artwork by CAP Designs

March 16 - 18 at 8 PM
March 19 at 2 PM
Mendelssohn Theatre

press release | program | synopsis | photographs | designs

Press Release
The University of Michigan's Opera Theatre will present Gaetano Donizetti's light-hearted comic opera, The Daughter of the Regiment, from March 16 through 19, at the Mendelssohn Theatre in Ann Arbor. The U-M production of this engagingly charming French-language opera will feature a novel means of reaching a wider audience: all the arias will be sung in French with English supertitles, but the spoken sections of the opera (and there are many) will be performed in English. Guest director Ned Canty explains: "We want to make the jokes understandable to modern ears. The songs will be sung in French and the dialogue sections will be in the vernacular because, quite frankly, it's more audience friendly that way. This is an opera that anyone can enjoy."

And indeed, in the past decade, Donizetti's operas have proven to be very popular with local audiences. Two years ago, the U-M Opera Theatre's L'Elisir d'Amore played to packed houses at the Power Center, and its 1990 production of Don Pasquale was a hit, with several sold-out performances. Although the U-M School of Music has not mounted a production of Daughter in more than 30 years, a recent New York City Opera National Company production sponsored by the University Musical Society was also very well received.

For Director Canty, this is not surprising: "Donizetti was the Andrew Lloyd Webber of his day. Donizetti made satisfying, wonderful music, and his ability to appeal to popular taste is as apparent today as it was in 1840, when Daughter of the Regiment was first performed." Canty cheerfully continues, "This is truly an infectious opera; a straightforward show designed to delight and entertain people. In its essence, it's musical comedy - more like Noel Coward, than a Wagner opera.

Canty has decided to play up the "Frenchness" of the piece, saying, "Donizetti was an Italian living in France and writing in a French form in order to win over French audiences. The Daughter of the Regiment is Donizetti's love letter to France. Hence, we've chosen to be as shamelessly Francophile in our approach to this work as he was. We really run with it! Audiences will hear and see quotations from many clearly French sources. The heroine's ornamentation, for example, will include little bits of obviously French-inspired melodies. We will be unabashedly patriotic. It's a blue, white and red production; we hope to 'wow' the crowd."

It is 1805 and Napoleon's forces are in the Tyrol. The war has forced the Marquise of Berkenfield, making her way home, to stop outside a village. Villagers watching the progress of the French sergeant Sulpice appears, terrorizing the village, followed by the vivandiere Marie. Sulpice quizzes her about reports that she has been seen with a young man: Marie replies that this is true and that the man concerned saved her life. The soldiers have found a Tyrolean snooping around the camp, and when they bring him forward, Marie identifies him as her rescuer, Tonio. Eventually he is welcomed by the soldiers. Coming out of hiding, the Marquise approaches Sulpice to ask him to ensure her safety on her journey home. In the course of their conversation, Sulpice realizes the Marquise's name is the same as the regiment's old Captain Robert. The Marquise insists that the Captain had been connected with her sister. Sulpice realizes their daughter is Marie and he takes the opportunity to introduce her to her "aunt". Tonio joins the regiment to be close to Marie, but the Marquise decides to take the girl away.

The Marquise has arranged to marry Marie to the Duke of Krackenthorp. She calls Sulpice to her home and asks him to encourage Marie who, although she has agreed to the wedding, is less than enthusiastic. The Marquise has been concerned to refine the girl's regimental manners, but when Marie sees Sulpice again, it is clear that she still hankers after her former way of life. To Marie's delight, all her old comrades return and Tonio is now an officer. He approaches the Marquise to tell her how he loves Marie, but she informs him of her plans and dismisses him. Left alone with Sulpice, the Marquise at last confesses that Marie is in fact her daughter: she feels tha marriage she has arranged will resolve her guilt. The marriage contract is to be digned that day and the Duke's mother, the Duchess of Krackenthorp arrives with other quests for the ceremony. Marie has now learned that the Marquise is her mother and resigns herself to sign the marriage contract. Suddenly Tonio leads in the regiment to stop the proceedings and tells everyone about Marie's old career as a vivandiere: at first the guests are horrifies, but Marie charms them with her honesty and the Marquise is moved to letting her marry Tonio.


Production Photographs

Thomas Glenn as Tonio Loren Allardyce as Marie,
Matthew Carroll as Sulpice
Loren, Thomas & Matt

Kimberley Dolanski as Marie,
Tyler T. Oliphant as Sulpice
Sean Panikkar, Kimberley Dolanski, and Larry Rodgers Michael Burgess as Tonio with the Regiment

The peasants of Tyrol Salut a la France! Michael Steelman curses the French

Tyler T. Oliphant and
Pei Yi Wange as the Marquise
Sachel Vasandani as Hortensius Carolyn Kahl as the Marquise

Marie (Kimberly Dolanski) bids goodbye to the regiment Tonio (Michael Burgess) comes to
see Marie (Kimberly Dolanski)
Marie (Kimberly Dolanski) confesses she is a vivandiere

Tonio (Thomas Glenn) asks the Marquise (Carolyn Kahl) for Marie's hand Marie (Loren Allardyce) welcomes the regiment to the chateau Reunited at last!

Marchons, marchons!
Our fearless leader, Director Ned Canty

Production Designs

Set design concept for Act I by Rob Murphy