Opera Scotland

Daughter of the Regiment 1911Moody-Manners Opera Company

Read more about the opera Fille du RĂ©giment

In recent years, this delightful comedy has shown signs of regaining a place in the standard repertoire which it lost around the time of the First World War, (though it still awaits revival in Scotland).

Like many popular works, it suffered from a number of changes after its premiere.  Donizetti composed it first as a comic opera for Paris with pages of dialogue, but most performances outside France used an Italian version for which he composed recitatives.  This 1911 version drew comment because of its use of dialogue, and, rather more justifiably, for its introduction of a new character in the second act, one Babette.  No mention is ever made of the chain of high Cs required of the tenor in ''Pour mon âme'' - either they were generally cut, or the feat was taken for granted in a manner unheard of nowadays, when an audience may be expected to have hysterics.  Interestingly, the tenor entrusted with the role of Tonio also sang Samson later in the week - a part for which a more heroic sound is usually required.

Cast details are from a programme in Aberdeen City Library and reviews in the Dundee Advertiser and Dundee Courier, as well as the Glasgow Herald.

 

A Dundee Review

Dundee Courier: Wednesday, March 15, 1911

Her Majesty’s Theatre - Moody-Manners Opera Company - The Daughter of the Regiment

'Only once before in the last twenty years or so has a full performance of Donizetti’s popular opera, The Daughter of the Regiment, been given in Dundee.  In the early days of Cavalleria Rusticana, before that opera was united as it now so often is with Pagliacci, the first two acts of The Daughter of the Regiment were used to fill up an evening’s programme, and another version called alternatively a “Drama with Songs” and “A Musical Comedy” was produced here by Miss Constance Bellamy in the late nineties.  Long before that a first-class performance of the opera was promised by the Carl Rosa Company, but abandoned owing to the indisposition of Miss Zélie de Lussan, who was cast for the dashing vivandière.

'The opera, as played last night, was very different from that which left Donizetti’s hands.  Almost all the recitatives have been “cut,” and their place taken, with advantage, no doubt, by spoken dialogue, and at least one new song was added - Mascheroni’s familiar “A Soldier’s Life” being tolerated by custom if not by art.  Then the humour has unquestionably been broadened and added to.  Last night’s performance showed the Moody-Manners Company to much advantage.  In addition to capable singing a considerable fund of humour  was displayed, and this made the performance go well, and it was received with laughter which was hearty and spontaneous, if not always expected.

'Miss Raymonde Amy made a charming Marie.  She has a particularly winning way with her, and her voice is eminently tuneful and telling.   Marie’s fit of bad temper in the first act was capitally shown, and Miss Amy’s singing of the “Song of the Regiment,” with its catching rhythm and lively melody, was excellent, and was loudly encored.  In the duets with Tonio and Sulpice, too, Miss Amy sang with much brilliance.   Miss Lily Moody, whose telling contralto voice has not been heard in Dundee for a considerable time, made a dignified and sometimes amusing Countess, and the part of Babette - a new one surely - was made important by the presence in it of that sweet-voiced singer, Miss Florence Morden, whose song at the opening of the second act was one of the finest bits in the whole opera.

'Mr Albert Bowyer, a tenor with a pretty, useful voice and an excellent turn for comedy, made a most capable Tonio.   Few tenors with such a voice can act as well as he can, and as a comedian, as well as a vocalist, he was a conspicuous success.  His big song in the third act was magnificently declaimed.  Mr Richard Cliffe as Sergeant Sulpice played with characteristic breadth and humour, and sang the interpolated “Soldier's Song” with mellowness of voice and abundant vigour.  Mr Gordon was a most amusing Bruno.

'The chorus sang remarkably well.  The ladies distinguished themselves in the opening chorus of the third act, which was preceded by a neat pas de trois, and the gentlemen gave the various soldiers’ choruses with crisp vigour.  The band played the overture and the accompaniments, which are of comparatively small importance - from a modern point of view at any rate - with brightness.  The strings were particularly good, and the brasses, though not perfect, were better than on Monday evening.'

 

A Glasgow Review

Glasgow Herald:  Wednesday, 22 March, 1911  (p8)

Opera in Glasgow - The Daughter of the Regiment

'The older Italian operas are so much bound up with  star singers that it is difficult to argue about either their merits or their popularity.  For one music lover, who goes to Covent Garden to hear Traviata, there are ten for whom the attraction is Tettrazzini or Melba.  Traviata remains in the repertoire because it is a medium for vocal display, and not because it is intrinsically great music.  It says something for the composer of course that he was able to give the singer such brilliant material, and it is quite possible to analyse the music without reference to the prima donna.

'But the prima donna is much to the public.  If Madame de Lussan had appeared last night in the Moody-Manners performance of The Daughter of the Regiment,  the King's Theatre would in all probability have been crowded.  Miss Raymonde Amy was little known to Glasgow, and a thinly-filled house was the result.  Donizetti's opera has the lively music of its class, but the lady who sings the part of Marie must be both actress and singer.  Madame de Lussan owed almost as much to her powers of comedy as to her voice.  Miss Amy had evidently learned the best traditions, and her performance lacked nothing in intelligence.  If she did not exhaust the possibilities of her part she at least sang prettily and came as near the hoydenish vivandière as her temperament permitted.

'Mr Richard Cliffe as Sergeant Sulpice was also somewhat overshadowed by his predecessors, but his performance was quite excellent on its own merits.  Mr Albert Bowyer sang with considerable effect as Tonio, and acted with plenty of confidence, and  Miss Lily Moody did all that was necessary as the Countess of Berkenfeldt.  Mr Gordon and Miss Florence Morden were specially good in the small parts of Bruno and Babette, and chorus and orchestra got through their music safely under the baton of Mr Harrison Frewin.'

Performance Cast

Marquise de Birkenfeld

Lily Moody (Mar 8, 14, 21)

Hortensio steward to the Marquise (Bruno)

Mr B Gordon (Mar 8, 14, 21)

Sulpice a sergeant of Grenadiers

Richard Cliffe (Mar 8, 14, 21)

Marie a foundling

Raymonde Amy (Mar 8, 14, 21)

Tonio a Tyrolean peasant

Albert Bowyer (Mar 8, 14, 21)

Corporal (Max)

Mr H Woollard (Mar 8, 14)

Babette

Florence Morden (Mar 8, 14, 21)

Performance DatesDaughter of the Regiment 1911

Map List

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

8 Mar, 19.30

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

14 Mar, 19.30

King's Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

21 Mar, 19.30

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