La Fille du Regiment

La Fille du Regiment, by Donizetti, starring Natalie Dessay ★★★
Donizetti was an extremely productive early 19th-century Italian opera composer, though most of his works go unperformed at this time. His greatest works include this opera, as well as Lucia de Lammermoor, L’elixir d’Amore, Anna Bolena, and a few others. This is probably the poorest conceived of his better-known operas, and best known with Joan Sutherland as the star daughter of the regiment. In this opera, Natalie Dessay is the star. Her vocal qualities do not compete with the excellence of Dame Joan, though her acting and overall operatic skills make her one of the better daughters to ever have filled this role. Thus, it was a delight and joy to watch. The staging was a cross between traditional and minimalist and served as much as a distraction as a help to the overall flow of the opera. This is not one of my favorite operas. The music is not memorable, and the plot is contrived. A baby girl (Marie) is picked up and raised by a French army regiment but recovered by a rich Tyrolean couple who think that she is their long-lost daughter and arrange a marriage for her though she is in love with a Tyrolean Toni who she met in the regiment and who joined the French regiment in order to marry her. Eventually, Tonio and Marie resolve the issues that hold them apart. Yawn! Ho-hum.