By Lynne Gray, PhD
Please note this can be seen at www.metopera.org.
Monday, June 29
Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment #2 ~ 2 hrs 22 mins
Starring Pretty Yende, Stephanie Blythe, Javier Camarena, Maurizio Muraro, and Kathleen Turner, conducted by Enrique Mazzola. From March 2, 2019.
If you missed the absolutely marvelous Natalie Dessay, Juan Diego Flórez version of this opera that streamed on March 20th, here is your second chance to see a truly delightful production with a cast that is almost as good (and some would say, as good) as the original. Pretty Yende and Javier Camarena are a bel canto dynamic duo. With one virtuosic vocal display after another, Donizetti’s charming romantic comedy has long served to showcase talented bel canto singers all over the world.
That tradition certainly continued last season at the Met, when sensational South African soprano Pretty Yende and Mexican tenor Javier Camarena thrilled audiences as the smitten young lovers Marie and Tonio. Yende offers an exuberant portrayal as the titular “Daughter of the Regiment,” while Camarena serves up nine seemingly effortless high Cs in the opera’s most famous aria “Ah! Mes amis … Pour mon âme”—a feat, as was the case with Flórez, which caused the audience to demand a rare Met encore – meaning 18 high C’s in just a few minutes. Enrique Mazzola conducts Laurent Pelly’s witty and heartwarming production, which also stars mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe (she was the outlandish Madame de la Haltière in Saturday’s Cendrillon) as the overbearing Marquise of Berkenfield, bass-baritone Maurizio Muraro as Sgt. Sulpice, and award-winning actress Kathleen Turner in the very amusing featured appearance as the Duchess of Krakenthorp (a speaking role!).
Here is an incredible opportunity to introduce the younger crowd (even as young as 7 or 8!) to opera. As the opera begins, our heroine, Marie, is the canteen girl for a regiment of rowdy French soldiers camped in the Tyrol. The entire regiment adopted her as an infant when they found her abandoned on a battlefield, and now she calls them all her “fathers.” Marie has recently been saved from falling off an Alp by an infatuated young Tyrolean suitor who follows her into the French camp and is promptly arrested by her fathers. Their hilarious road to eventual togetherness – through Marie’s supposed aunt’s reappearance in her life, to her going back to the Chateau with her “aunt” to be taught to be a lady, to her rescue from the chateau by all of her fathers (riding in on a tank!), to the delightful happy ending that features Kathleen Turner. There are many of opera’s most catchy and humorous songs to be heard – and even some surprise history-making ad-libbing in her native Zulu from this wonderful soprano. No dramatic deaths mar the fun, and you will definitely enjoy laughing along with The Daughter of the Regiment!
1. Pretty Yende as Marie in Donizetti’s “La Fille du Régiment” at the Met. Photo Credit: Marty Sohl / Metropolitan Opera.
2. From left: Pretty Yendi, Jose Camarena and Maurizio Muraro as Marie, Tonio and Sgt. Sulpice in Donizetti’s “La Fille du Régiment” at the Met. Photo Credit: Marty Sohl / Metropolitan Opera.
3. Pretty Yende and Kathleen Turner in Donizetti’s “La Fille du Régiment” at the Met. Photo Credit: Marty Sohl / Metropolitan Opera.