Pittsburgh Opera presents Donizetti’s frothy romantic comedy DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT
What: Donizetti’s comic opera DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT
Where: Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, Downtown Pittsburgh
When: Saturday, May 2, 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, May 8, 7:30 p.m.* Sunday, May 10, 2:00 p.m.
Run Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes, including 1 intermission
Language: Sung in English with English texts projected above the stage
Tickets: Start at $12 for all performances.
Call 412-456-6666 for more information or visit pittsburghopera.org
Note: * 7:30 is the new start time for our Friday performances.
Related Brown Bag concert; Opera Up Close; WQED Preview;
Events: Meet the Artists; Student Matinee; Audio Description.
Pittsburgh, PA… Pittsburgh Opera concludes its 76th season with a colorful, charming production of Donizetti’s comic opera DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT (La fille du régiment). On stage May 2, 5, 8, and 10, and sung in English, DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT brings a bit of whimsy and plenty of vocal fireworks to the Benedum Center. Star tenor Lawrence Brownlee, as Tonio, brings nine incredible high Cs in the famous aria “Ah, mes, amis (Ah, my friends),” and Lisette Oropesa as Marie, has plenty of high notes of her own. Music Director Antony Walker conducts the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and Chorus; Seán Curran is director and choreographer. Tickets start at $12.
Despite a “barely averted disaster” of an opening night in February 1840 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, the opera soon found its footing, and quickly became a favorite, due in no small part to the spectacular singing required of both lead roles. Youngstown native Lawrence Brownlee debuts with Pittsburgh Opera in the role of Tonio, as arguably the most in-demand of bel canto tenors, having recently given standout performances as Almaviva/Il barbiere di Siviglia (broadcast on PBS’s Great Performances) and Arturo/I Puritani at The Metropolitan Opera, and Lindoro/L’Italiana in Algeri at Houston Grand Opera. Lisette Oropesa, who dazzled Pittsburgh audiences as Konstanze in The Abduction from the Seraglio (2012) with her rendition of “Martern alle arten,” returns as Marie, fresh from highly-praised performances at New Orleans Opera (Susanna/Le nozze di Figaro) and The Metropolitan Opera (Sophie/Werther). An avid runner, Ms. Oropesa will run 26.2 miles in the Pittsburgh Marathon the day after opening night.
DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT calls for a skilled supporting cast, and the lineup is stellar, including Joyce Castle in her Pittsburgh debut as the Marquise of Berkenfeld, WQED-FM’s Anna Singer (The Grapes of Wrath, 2008) as the Duchess of Krakenthorp, Kevin Glavin (La bohème, 2014) as the old soldier Sulpice, Resident Artist Phillip Gay (Carmen, 2015) as Hortensius, and Dimitrie Lazich (La bohème, 2014) as the Corporal. Director and Choreographer Seán Curran debuts at Pittsburgh Opera as well.
Pittsburgh Opera’s DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT also brings the annual Student Matinee on Thursday, May 7 at the Benedum Center. In this performance, Resident Artists take lead roles and perform with Maestro Walker and the orchestra for about 2800 school children from around the region. Adelaide Boedecker appears as Marie, Phillip Gay is Hortensius, and former Resident Artist Daniel Curran appears as Tonio, alongside the rest of the mainstage cast. Resident Artist Jennifer Williams is stage director. This year’s student matinee features the added excitement of an a vista scene change.
Tickets to DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT start at $12, with all performances at the Benedum Center, 7th Street and Penn Avenue, in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. For additional information, videos, photos, cast biographies, and the full story of DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT, visit www.pittsburghopera.org. To purchase tickets, call 412-456-6666 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org.
Three facts about DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT
- The opera has historically been performed in multiple languages. Soon after its initial success in Paris, Donizetti adapted the original French version as La figlia del reggimento to fit the tastes of the Italian public; the English version was first heard in London in 1847. Pittsburgh Opera will perform the English version.
- The tenor aria “Ah, mes amis” has been called the “Mount Everest” for tenors.
It features nine high Cs and comes comparatively early in the opera, giving the singer less time to warm up his voice. It’s also the aria that made Luciano Pavarotti a star.
- S. Gilbert, of Gilbert & Sullivan fame, wrote a burlesque adaptation of the opera, La Vivandière, in 1867.
The story, in brief
On their way to Austria, the Marquise of Berkenfeld and her butler, Hortensius, pause in their journey because the French army is blocking their way. When the marquise hears that the French troops have retreated, Hortensius asks Sulpice, sergeant of the 21st regiment, to let the marquise continue on her way. Sulpice is joined by Marie, “daughter” of the regiment, who was adopted by the army as an orphan. When Sulpice questions her about a young man she has been seen with, she explains that he is a Tyrolean who once saved her life. Troops of the 21st arrive with a prisoner: this same Tyrolean, Tonio, who says he is looking for Marie. She steps in to save him, and while he toasts his new friends, Marie sings the regimental song. Tonio is ordered to follow the soldiers, but he escapes and returns to declare his love to Marie. Marie tells Tonio that she can only marry a soldier from the 21st.
The Marquise of Berkenfeld asks Sulpice to escort her back to her castle. When he hears the name Berkenfeld, Sulpice remembers a letter he found near the young Marie when she was adopted. The marquise admits that she knew the girl’s father, and that Marie is the long-lost daughter of her sister. Shocked by the girl’s rough manners, the marquise is determined to take Marie to her castle and to give her a proper education. Tonio has enlisted so that he can marry Marie, but she has to leave both her regiment and the man she loves to live with the marquise.
The marquise has arranged a marriage between Marie and Scipion, nephew of the Duchess of Krakenthorp. Sulpice has joined the marquise at the Berkenfeld castle, recovering from an injury and supposedly helping her with her plans. The marquise gives Marie a singing lesson, accompanying her at the piano. Encouraged by Sulpice, Marie slips in phrases of the regimental song, and the marquise loses her temper. Left alone, Marie thinks about the meaninglessness of money and position. She hears soldiers marching in the distance and is delighted when the whole regiment files in. Tonio, Marie, and Sulpice are reunited. Tonio asks for Marie’s hand, but the marquise declares her niece is engaged to another man, and dismisses Tonio. Alone with Sulpice, the marquise confesses the truth: Marie is her own illegitimate daughter whom she abandoned, fearing social disgrace.
Hortensius announces the arrival of the wedding party, headed by the Duchess of Krakenthorp. Marie refuses to leave her room, but when Sulpice tells her that the marquise is her mother, the surprised girl declares that she cannot go against her mother’s wishes, and agrees to marry a man that she does not love. As she is about to sign the marriage contract, the soldiers of the regiment, led by Tonio, storm in to rescue their “daughter.” The noble guests are horrified to learn that Marie was a “mascot,” but they change their opinion when she describes her upbringing, telling them that she can never repay the debt she owes the soldiers. The marquise is so moved that she gives her daughter permission to marry Tonio. Everyone joins in a final “Salut à la France.”
Tickets to DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT start at $12, with all performances at the Benedum Center, 7th Street and Penn Avenue, in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. For additional information, videos, musical samples, cast biographies, and the full story of DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT, visit www.pittsburghopera.org. To purchase tickets, call 412-456-6666 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org.
The 2014-15 Pittsburgh Opera season is generously supported by PNC.
Highmark is the Student Matinee Sponsor.
WQED-FM is Season Media Sponsor.
Cast and Artistic Team (cast is listed in order of vocal appearance)
Hortensius Phillip Gay *
Marquise of Berkenfeld Joyce Castle +
Sulpice Kevin Glavin **
Marie Lisette Oropesa
Tonio Lawrence Brownlee +
Corporal Dimitrie Lazich
Duchess of Krakenthorp Anna Singer
Conductor Antony Walker
Director Seán Curran
Set Designer James Schuette
Costume Designer James Schuette
Lighting Designer Cindy Limauro
Hair & Makeup Designer James Geier
Chorus Master Mark Trawka
Associate Coach/Pianist James Lesniak
+ Pittsburgh Opera debut
Tickets for all performances of DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT start at $12. Group discounts are available. For tickets, call (412) 456-6666 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org. For discounted group tickets (6 or more), contact Randy Adams at 412-281-0912, x 213.
Brown Bag Concert, “Bel canto favorites”
Saturday, April 18 – 12:00 p.m.
At the final Brown Bag concert of the season, our Resident Artists celebrate bel canto (“beautiful singing”) and give a sneak peek of Pittsburgh Opera’s next season, with music by Rossini, Donizetti, Mark Adamo, and more. These casual, one-hour concerts feature our Resident Artists in the George R. White Opera Studio at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters. Guests can meet the performers afterward. Free and open to everyone; no RSVP required. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. For more information: (412) 281-0912 or pittsburghopera.org
Opera Up Close: DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT
Sunday, April 19 – 2:00 p.m.
George R. White Opera Studio, Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters (2425 Liberty Ave.) Opera Up Close: DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT includes an in-depth analysis of the opera, with directors and artists from the production. Admission is $5; free to members of FRIENDS of Pittsburgh Opera and $50+ donors. For more information: (412) 281-0912 or pittsburghopera.org.
DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT Previews on WQED-FM 89.3 and WQED.ORG
Saturday, April 25 – 12:00 p.m.; Friday, May 1 – 7:00 p.m.
Hosted by WQED’s Stephen Baum and Anna Singer, and broadcast over the airwaves as well as the WQED website, the DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT preview gives listeners an engaging introduction to the singers, music and story of the opera. For more information: pittsburghopera.org.
Audio Description: DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT
Tuesday, May 5
Ticketholders with visual impairments are invited to use Pittsburgh Opera’s Audio
Description service at our Tuesday performances. Trained volunteers describe the scenery, costumes, and stage action via headphones. Those wishing to use Audio Description
should reserve seats to the Tuesday, May 5 performance: contact Randy Adams at 412-281-0912, ext. 213 or [email protected]. Braille and large-print programs are also available.
Tuesday, May 5
Immediately following the opera, in the Benedum Center’s Lower Lobby
Ticketholders for the Tuesday, May 5 performance of DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT are invited to gather in the Benedum Lower Lobby immediately following the performance for interviews with General Director Christopher Hahn and the stars of the opera. This event is free to all Tuesday performance ticketholders.
Pittsburgh Opera celebrates its 76th season in 2014-15. Established by five intrepid women in 1939, Pittsburgh Opera is viewed as one of the most vibrant opera organizations in the U.S., with a rich artistic tradition, outstanding educational programs, an acclaimed artist training program, and a progressive outlook toward the future. Its green initiative culminated in LEED® Silver certification for its Strip District headquarters, and its capacity as a true community partner has increased significantly under General Director Christopher Hahn’s leadership.