This classic account of La Fille du régiment has already seen print in the usual slip box fashion. This mid-price issue gives the same info and pictures (sans the covers, which are unique to each set), but drops the German and Italian translations in favor of French and English only…
“Laurent Pelly's production of Donizetti's opéra comique was one of the highlights of the Royal Opera's 2006-7 season, and viewing this well-produced DVD of the show it's perfectly obvious why. Natalie Dessay's skinny tomboy of a Marie combines a 110 per cent commitment to the physicality of her acting with a coloratura facility that is beyond criticism.” BBC Music Magazine.
At the outset, I have to say that this opera is one of my least favorites. Somehow, it just doesn't communicate with me. I lived with the Sutherland-Pavarotti recording on London for a long time, listened to it occassionally, and then left it on the shelf. I know that both of them were acclaimed for their performances on this London recording, and of course, Sutherland and Pavarotti's singing certainly merit such acclaim. That said, however, I found both of them very ungainly in this music.
By L. Mitnick
Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment aims to please and it succeeds, with its catchy tunes, wildly difficult showpieces for the principles, and a simple, if also simplistic, narrative line. This 2005 live performance at Genoa's Teatro Carlo Felice features virtuoso singing by tenor Juan Diego Flórez as Tonio and soprano Patrizia Ciofi, as Marie, the "daughter" of the soldiers who have adopted her. Tonio's big Act I scene and aria, "Ah! mes amis," was a famous showpiece for Pavarotti and Flórez is in that league, nailing the aria's nine high Cs with an ease mere mortals reserve just for breathing. This is knock-'em-dead singing and the audience demands (and gets) an encore. Ciofi's Marie is well acted and sung with lyric beauty and coloratura fireworks… –Dan Davis
Marie, found abandoned as a baby on the battlefield, was adopted and raised by soldiers. She is the darling of the regiment. When a Marquise tells the Sergeant that Marie is actually her niece and she must leave the regiment, the troops are heartbroken. The Marquise plans to educate and marry Marie in a manner befitting a lady of quality, but Marie wants only to return to her regiment and the man she loves.
This DVD version of Donizetti’s comic opera zooms right to the top of any list of essential videos for opera fans. It may not be the composer’s best work, but given a top-notch production with world class singing actors, it brings vocal thrills and an abundance of laughs, a combination that’s hard to beat. The stars are Juan Diego Flórez and Natalie Dessay, both unbeatable in bel canto roles, and both in top form here. Flórez’s mellifluous tenor is flexible enough to make child's play of the terrifying (to other tenors) nine high C’s in Ah! mes amis," and supple enough to make his tender love arias moving…
After the Second World War, La Fille du Regiment gradually fell into oblivion. Small wonder, as it had become difficult to treat the anything but contemporary chauvinism of such a work. Dramatic and musical reasons raise their heads, making it impossible to gloss over the military-nationalistic traits or to interpret them any other way. The Director, Filippo Crivelli, therefore chose the reverse way for his production at the Scala Milan. He presented the events with the disarming ingenuousness of a picture book. Right from the beginning he and his illustrious stage set designer, Franco Zeffirelli, left no one in any doubt that this idyllic Tyrol was nothing but painted scenery and was thus the place of an unrealistic, playful event. The Italian soprano Mariella Devia, especially renowned as Bellini and Donizetti interpreter, proved with this role not only her fantastic vocal ability but also her talent for comedy as well as Paul Austin Kelly who brilliantly masters the notorious famous eight (!) high Cs of his cavatina Pour son amen.