[Met Performance] CID:315380
La Fille du Régiment {75} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/14/1994.

(Debut: Bruno Praticň
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 14, 1994


LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT {75}
Donizetti-Bayard/Saint-Georges

Marie.......................Harolyn Blackwell
Tonio.......................Frank Lopardo
Marquise of Berkenfield.....Rosalind Elias
Sergeant Sulpice............Bruno Praticň [Debut]
Hortentius..................Michel Sénéchal
Duchesse of Krakentorp......Beatrice Arthur
Peasant.....................Marty Singleton
Corporal....................Jeffrey Wells
Dancing Master..............Ralph Di Rienzo
Notary......................John Grimaldi

Conductor...................Edoardo Müller

Production..................Sandro Sequi
Stage Director..............Bruce Donnell
Set designer................Anna Anni
Costume designer............Marcel Escoffier
Lighting designer...........Gil Wechsler

La Fille du Régiment received seven performances this season.

Review of Barrymore Laurence Scherer in Opera News

Though the Valentine's Day revival of Donizetti's choice valentine, "La Fille du Régiment," ought to have been wonderful, it was not. Harolyn Blackwell was obliged to undertake the title role earlier than scheduled, for it was during rehearsals for "La Fille" that Kathleen Battle pushed the Met far enough to fire her. To judge by the flaccid activities onstage, the Battle uproar resulted in serious underrehearsal. Bruce Donnell's lack of stage direction didn't help, either- the soldiers' utter confusion and the peasants' slipshod Alpine dances evoked amateur theatricals. Add to this the conducting of Edoardo Muller, who nearly wrecked "II faut partir," among other arias, with ill-advised tempos that threw off both singers and obbligato instruments.

Blackwell deserved credit for courage under fire, displaying a silvery voice that would be heard to better advantage in the less cavernous dimensions of a European opera house. Ironically, the ease with which she sang her bell-like high notes often undercut their effect. Her Marie probably would record well and should remind one that before Joan Sutherland, who sang the role here in 1972 and 1983, the Met had last revived the opera for Lily Pons, also a diminutive singer whose voice was not very large.

Frank Lopardo's throaty singing was continually distracting, regardless of the bright-eyed manner he projected as Tonio. He hit all the high Cs in "Pour mon áine," but his self-satisfied undulations during the aria suggested Donizetti's happy bumpkin less than a male stripper. Still, he sang "Pour me rapprocher" with true feeling and admirable piano. Bruno Praticň offered a stalwart Sulpice with a serviceable if unmemorable baritone, while all the vocal swooping in the world couldn't breathe comedic life into Rosalind Elias' characterization of the Marquise. Michel Sënechal's French diction as Hortensius shamed the others.

Beatrice Arthur's Duchesse de Krakentorp was a mistake. From the moment she entered, the opera degenerated into a seemingly endless star turn for an inappropriate star. Despite the audience's laughter, her disgraceful shtick in English (scripted by comedian/director Charles Nelson Reilly) - especially her repeated though reluctant demands to get on with "the plot" - broadcast the message that Donizetti's lighthearted tale is too lightweight to bother about.



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