La Figlia Del Reggimento


Text by ST. GEORGE and BAYARD.

This opera is one of the few of Donizetti's numerous works, which still

retain their attraction for the theatre-visitor, the others are his

Lucrezia Borgia and Lucia di Lammermoor.

The "Daughter of the Regiment" happily combines Italian richness of

melody with French "esprit" and French sallies, and
ence the continued

charm of this almost international music.

The libretto can be accounted good.

The scene in the first act is laid near Bologna in the year 1815, the

second act in the castle of the Marchesa di Maggiorivoglio.

Mary, a vivandiere, has been found and educated by a French sergeant,

named Sulpice, and therefore belongs in a sense to his regiment, which

is on a campaign in Italy. She is called the "daughter" of the

regiment, which has adopted her, and she has grown up, a bright and

merry girl, full of pluck and spirit, the pet and delight of the whole


Tonio, a young Swiss, who has fallen in love with Mary, is believed by

the grenadiers to be a spy, and is about to be hanged. But Mary,

knowing that he has only come to see her, tells them that he lately

saved her life, when she was in danger of falling over a precipice.

This changes everything and on his expressing a desire to become one of

them, the grenadiers suffer the Swiss to enlist into their company.

After the soldiers' departure he confesses his love to Mary, who

returns it heartily. The soldiers agree to give their consent, when

the Marchesa di Maggiorivoglio appears, and by a letter once affixed to

the foundling Mary, addressed to a Marchesa of the same name and

carefully kept by Sulpice, it is proved that Mary is the Marchesa's

niece. Of course this noble lady refuses her consent to a marriage

with the low-born Swiss and claims Mary from her guardian. With tears

and laments Mary takes leave of her regiment and her lover, who at once

decides to follow her. But he has enlisted as soldier and is

forbidden to leave the ranks. Sulpice and his whole regiment curse the

Marchesa, who thus carries away their joy.

In the second act Mary is in her aunt's castle. She has masters of

every kind for her education in order to become a lady comme il faut,

but she cannot forget her freedom, and her dear soldiers, and instead

of singing solfeggios and cavatinas, she is caught warbling her

"Rataplan", to the Marchesa's grief and sorrow. Nor can she cease to

think of Tonio, and only after a great struggle has she been induced to

promise her hand to a nobleman, when she suddenly hears the

well-beloved sound of drums and trumpets. It is her own regiment with

Tonio as their leader, for he has been made an officer on account of

his courage and brave behaviour. Hoping that his altered position may

turn the Marchesa's heart in his favor, he again asks for Mary, but his

suit is once more rejected. Then he proposes flight, but the Marchesa

detecting his plan, reveals to Mary that she is not her niece, but her

own daughter, born in early wedlock with an officer far beneath her in

rank, who soon after died in battle. This fact she has concealed from

her family, but as it is now evident that she has closer ties with

Mary, the poor girl dares not disobey her, and, though broken-hearted,

consents to renounce Tonio.

The Marchesa invites a large company of guests to celebrate her

daughter's betrothal to the son of a neighboring duchess. But Mary's

faithful grenadiers suddenly appear to rescue her from those

hateful ties, and astonish the whole company by their recital of Mary's

early history. The obedient maiden however, submissive to her fate, is

about to sign the marriage contract, when at last the Marchesa, touched

by her obedience and her sufferings, conquers her own pride and

consents to the union of her daughter with Tonio. Sulpice and his

soldiers burst out into loud shouts of approbation, and the highborn

guests retire silently and disgusted.