DONIZETTI: La Figlia del Reggimento

Music composed by Gaetano Donizetti. Libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de
Saint-Georges and Jean-FranÁois-Alfred Bayard, later revised to an Italian
translation by Calisto Bassi.

First Performance: 11 February1840, OpÈra-Comique (Salle de la Bourse),

(revised version, 3 October 1840, Teatro alla Scala, Milan).

Principal Characters:
Marie (Maria) a vivandiËre Soprano
Tonio a young Tyrolean Tenor
La Marquise (La Marchesa) de Berkenfeld [The Marchioness] Mezzo-Soprano
Sulpice Pingot (Sulpizio) a sergeant of the 21st regiment Bass
Hortensius (Ortensio) major-domo of the Marchioness Bass
A Corporal Bass
A Notary Spoken
La Duchesse (La Duchessa) de Crackentorp [The Duchess] Spoken
A Valet Spoken

Setting: The Tyrolean countryside
and the chateau of the Marchioness, not long after the battle of Marengo,


Act I

Setting: Outside a Tyrolean village

A group of villagers, expecting to be overrun by the victorious Napoleonic
army, is joined by the Marchioness of Berkenfield, whose journey has been
interrupted by the fighting. There is relief when they learn that the French
have withdrawn, but alarm when Sergeant Sulpice appears, much to his
amusement, as his intentions are peaceful. He is joined by Marie, the orphan
girl who had been brought up by the regiment since she was a baby and who has
just been made the regimentís vivandiere.

As Sulpice is interrogating her about a strange young man she has been
seen with, the soldiers drag him in; he is Tonio, a Tyrolean peasant, who has
been found hanging round the camp. Marie saves him from instant execution as
a spy by telling the soldiers how he had saved her from falling over a
precipice. They immediately hail him as a brother, but as they are summoned
by rollcall, Sulpice makes sure Tonio is not left alone with Marie, although
she claims him as her prisoner and promises to keep an eye on him.

Tonio manages to give the Sulpice the slip and rejoins Marie, who explains
that the regiment are her collective fathers. They confess their love and
wander off.

The nervous marchioness explains to Suplice that she wishes to resume her
interrupted journey to her castle of Berkenfield. The name reminds him of a
former officer, Captain Robert, a name which, in turn, has strong
associations for her. She explains that her sister had been married to the
captain and their daughter lost. Suplice tells her that the child had been
found on the battlefield and is alive and well and her upbringing has fitted
her for her role as an heiress – a claim shattered by Marieís
rough-and-ready military vocabulary when she learns that the lady is her
aunt. The marchioness wishes to take Marie away with her.

Tonio has decided to join the regiment to be near his beloved. The
soldiers, although ready to accept him as a recruit, are dubious about his
wish to marry Marie, until he assures them that she loves him. They give
their consent, only to learn that Marie must leave them. All express their

Act II

Setting: A salon in the castle of Berkenfield

The marchioness has arranged a marriage for Marie with the Duke of
Krakentorp and has summoned Sulpice to help her secure Marieís consent. The
marchioness, who believes that Marie has lost her unladylike ways, gives her
a singing lesson, but the presence of Sulpice causes her to abandon the
sentimental ditty in favour of a rousing regimental song, which he joins

The marchioness takes Sulpice aside, and Marie is suddenly surrounded by
the regiment, including Tonio, who has been promoted to officer for his
courage. Marie sends the soldiers off with the steward to try the cellars,
while she and Tonio try to persuade Sulpice to plead their cause with the
marchioness. She, however, is unmoved, sending the lovers off in different
directions. She admits to Sulpice that Marie is not her niece, but her
illegitimate daughter. She has set up the grand marriage to provide Marie
with the position and security she cannot legally give her. Sulpice is
convinced that the marriage would be in Marieís best interest. When the
dowager Duchess of Krakentrop, mother of the bridegroom, arrives with other
guests, she is affronted to find the bride absent. Marie, who now knows the
secret of her birth, embraces her mother and prepares to sign the contract,
but the soldiers, anxious for their daughterís happiness, tell the guests
that she has been their vivandiere. They are at first scandalised, then
charmed by Marieís sincerity. The marchioness, touched by Marieís
readiness to sacrifice herself, agrees to let her marry

[Synopsis Source: Opera~Opera]

Click here
for the complete libretto

image_description=Luciano Pavarotti as Tonio
first_audio_name=Gaetano Donizetti: La Figlia del Reggimento
WinAMP, VLC or iTunes
product_title=La Figlia del Reggimento
product_by=Maria: Mirella Freni
Tonio: Luciano Pavarotti
Sulpizio: Vladimiro Ganzarolli
Marchesa di Birkenfeld: Anna Di Stasio
La Duchesa di Krakentorp: Maria Grazia Allegri
Ortensio: Walter Monachesi
Un Notaio: Angelo Mercuriali
Un Caporale: Giuseppe Morresi
Un Paesano: Walter Gullino
Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala, Milan
Nino Sanzogno (cond.)
Live performance, 11 February 1969, Milano.