Opera: Charles Osbourne in Covent Garden
TLa Fille du Régiment (Donizetti) Royal Opera House his is one of the most delightful of Donizetti’s comic operas. Composed to a French libretto, it is a superb example of authentic French opéra comique, a link between the operas of Grétry and Adam, and the operettas of Offenbach.
Set in the Swiss Tyrol during the period of the Napoleonic wars, the action centres around Marie, who has been brought up since childhood by Sergeant Sulpice and his regiment, who regard her as their mascot.
The new production by Laurent Pelly at the Royal Opera House, updates the opera to the First World War, with the regiment in tin hats. Once one had got used to this thoroughly unnecessary departure from what the French librettists had wanted, all was well.
As Marie, Natalie Dessay sang beautifully, but the star of the evening was handsome Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez who belted out the nine top Cs in his aria with great energy and style. His ovation seemed never-ending.
The actress Dawn French coped faultlessly with her non-singing role of the Marquise de Berkenfeld, and Bruno Campanella conducted splendidly.
Final performance: Febuary 1