Season 2006/07
Spalding, Lincolnshire, England

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7 October 2006

18 November 2006

27 January 2007

3 March 2007

Duo Dorado
De Borah
Chaconne Brass

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The Daughter of the Regiment (La Fille du Régiment)
by Gaetano Donizetti
Presented by Swansea City Opera

The Daughter of the Regiment (La Fille du Régiment) is a delightful, light-hearted, frolicsome opera with leading roles made famous by Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti. Of all the operas by Gaetano Donizetti, this is possibly the finest, with a combination of true Italian dramatic tension and superb musical verve.

It tells the story of a foundling, Marie, who is adopted by a regiment; she entertains the soldiers as their vivandière and enjoys their company. She develops affections for Tonio (a country boy who saves Marie from falling over a precipice), who enlists as a soldier for her sake, but there are complex plans afoot for marrying her to a Duke…

Swansea City Opera (SCO) has built a fine reputation for high-quality touring theatre since its inception in March 2004 and will employ the same successful team to deliver a new witty translation to equal that of their much acclaimed version of The Barber of Seville (touring 2004/5). Add to this drumming, marching and the hilarious singing lesson scene and you can be rest assured that you will be in complete rapture, with this unforgettable performance from a superb ensemble company.

Includes the famous arias:- ‘Chacun le sait’ and 'Ah mes amis'

The Daughter of the Regiment

Setting: the mountains of Tyrol, early 19th century

Act I
Near a village in Tyrol, a group of peasants are preparing to battle the French as several women pray for protection. The Marquise of Berkenfield, traveling in the region, comes near the advancing army by mistake and almost faints in terror. As her steward, Hortensius, pleads with her to control herself, the Marquise deplores the state of the world in which Napoleon's army seems to ignore no one, not even the nobility.
News arrives that the French are falling back and soon Sergeant Sulpice of the French regiment enters alone. Screaming, the Marquise and others flee. Moments later, the voice of the regiment's drum majorette, Marie, signals her advance, and she joins Sulpice to praise the French fighting men. They reminisce about the good fortune that brought Marie to the regiment years ago as an orphan. Since then, she has been raised like a daughter by the soldiers and in turn enlivens their lives with her singing, encouragement, and beauty.

Sulpice questions the girl about a young Tyrolean with whom she has been seen, only to have the soldiers drag him in moments later. Since he has been found spying near the camp, the soldiers want to kill the young man, but are prevented by Marie who relates how he saved her from falling from a precipice. She introduces her hero as Tonio and, as the men agree to accept him for his bravery in saving Marie, she begins to sing the famous song of the regiment. Led by their sergeant and corporal, the men join in, but are soon summoned to roll call. The regiment takes Tonio with them, but he slips back to see Marie and tell her that he loves her. She opens her heart to him, and they fall into each other's arms.

As they leave, Sulpice enters with Hortensius and the Marquise, who relates that her late sister had a child by a man in Sulpice's regiment named Captain Robert who was killed in battle. When Sulpice admits that Marie is that child, the Marquise insists that she must take Marie away from the regiment and prepare her to become a noblewoman, her rightful station in life. Sulpice breaks the bittersweet news to Marie that her aunt has been found but that she will need to leave the regiment and accompany her aunt home.

As they sadly leave, the soldiers bring in a new recruit. Tonio has joined the regiment to be near Marie. The soldiers are wary of him and protective of Marie, but they accept his happiness at being near the girl he loves. Soon, however, Sulpice sadly relates that Marie will be leaving the regiment to go with her aunt and Tonio's heart is broken. Marie tearfully says her goodbyes to all her friends, including the man she loves. The men of the regiment bemoan the loss of the girl they have raised since infancy as the Marquise takes her away. Tonio refuses to give up and vows to follow them.

Act II (a few months later)
In an elegant salon at her chateau the Marquise receives Sgt. Sulpice. She requests that he help her convince Marie that an arranged marriage with a rich German prince will be a good match for the girl.
When Marie enters, the Marquise sits at the piano and asks her to sing an aria that she has learned as a part of her intensive training in ladylike behavior. After a bit of the aria, Sulpice whispers a line of the old regimental tune. Marie tries a few measures of both, connecting the melody of the aria to the song of the regiment, which she launches into with glee, encouraging the Marquise and Sulpice to sing along. Embarrassed at being taken in by the girl's enthusiasm, the Marquise makes a formal exit, marveling at Marie's natural charm and charisma.
As Sulpice follows the Marquise, Marie miserably contemplates her upcoming arranged marriage. Suddenly, she hears a march in the distance and realizes that her regiment is nearby. Overjoyed, she salutes them and is delighted to see Tonio among them as they arrive. The reunion is cut short, however, when the Marquise enters and coldly confronts Tonio who reveals that Marie is his whole life. Unmoved, the Marquise demands that he leave, stating that Marie is engaged and will be married within the hour. Sadly he agrees to go. Crushed and in tears Marie goes to her room.

Alone with Sulpice, the Marquise reveals the secret that Marie is actually her own daughter, but forbids Sulpice to break the news. She begs him to persuade Marie to marry the Duke of Krakenthorp. Sulpice agrees to try.
Soon the wedding guests begin to arrive in all their finery and are announced by Hortensius. The Duchess of Krakenthorp sweeps in to the salon and becomes upset to find that Marie is not present. The Marquise makes an excuse about Marie's dress, but the Duchess is obviously offended at the girl's tardiness.

Soon a Notary presents the marriage contract for signatures, but Marie has still not returned, much to the evident frustration of the Duchess. Finally, Marie enters holding back her tears. Ignoring the Marquise's request, Sulpice has informed Marie of her mother's secret, and to save her mother any further embarrassment, she agrees to sign the wedding contract.

Just in the nick of time, Tonio bursts in with the men of the regiment who narrate the true story of Marie's rough history and upbringing. Marie admits the truth of her past as the guests look on in shock.
As the girl prepares to sign the contract, her mother, moved to tears by the story of Marie's childhood, stops her and bids her go with Tonio, the man she loves. The Duchess is outraged as Marie embraces Tonio, and the Marquise joins the men of the regiment in raising a robust cheer to the happiness of the daughter they all adore.

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