Thursday, December 22, 2011

Donizetti for the Holidays

For something truly light and sweet for your holiday musical feasting the Metropolitan Opera offers Donizetti's bel canto comedy La Fille Du Regiment as the penultimate opera of the year.
It's plot centers on the diverting and the virtuosic. During a military skirmish a noblewoman complains of being delayed in her travels. The Duchess of Krakenthorp then after talking to the soldiers takes notice of the regiments mascot, Marie, the Daughter of the Regiment. It seems that she was found by the company an abandoned child and they took in the orphan and made her one of their own. It seems she also possesses the manners of the military men and the Marquise is determined to take her in hand, explaining that she believes her to be her sisters long lost child. There is also the matter of a budding romance with a Tyrolean local, Tonio, that the Marquise is determined to end and replace with an aristocratic connection. But,this regimental daughter proves a harder case than the Marquise had bargained for and she rebels at the attempts to tame her and transform her through a crash course in etiquette. Besides,Tonio is a virtuoso tenor role with nine high C's, how can a girl resist? 
By the time of Marie's removal to Berkenfeld Castle the soldiers have decided that it's time to revolt and reclaim their daughter. In the middle of her forced marriage the troops march into the castle, with her lover leading the charge, intent on bringing her back into the regimental fold. Tonio's virtuosic and touching declaration of love changes everything and the Marquise confesses that is acting out of selfishness and shame: "She" is the long lost mother of this very headstrong and egalitarian girl. The Marquise then announces that Marie will be allowed to marry Tonio to the astonishment and scandal of the aristocratic guests.
Tune in this Saturday at 11 am for a very tasty French confection and a perfect compliment to friends and food and the celebration of the season, Donizetti's Daughter of the Regiment, here at 11 am on KPAC and KTXI.  
by Ron Moore

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