Arts, Dining & Entertainment, Featured

Comedy ‘ La Fille du Regiment ’ delights with high notes and cameo

Photo courtesy Town Hall Theater

Tenor Javier Camarena and soprano Pretty Yende at Town Hall Theater will be at 1 p.m.

March 2 & 3, 1 p.m.—RUTLAND & MIDDLEBURY— Tenor Javier Camarena and soprano Pretty Yende team up for a feast of bel canto vocal fireworks in “La Fille du Regiment,” including the show-stopping tenor aria “Ah! Mes amis … Pour mon âme,” with its nine high Cs. Soprano Pretty Yende sings the title role with “gleaming sound, sparkling runs and lots of sass” (New York Times) and tenor Javier Camarena is “effortless … thrilling”. And in the cameo role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp, legendary actress Kathleen Turner makes an exciting appearance. Alessandro Corbelli and Maurizio Muraro trade off as the comic Sergeant Sulpice, with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as the outlandish Marquise of Berkenfield.

This frothy comedy mixes humor with a rush of buoyant melody and notorious vocal challenges. The story concerns a young orphan girl raised by an army regiment as their mascot and begins at the moment of her first stirrings of love. Complications (and comedy) ensue when her true identity is discovered. The action is startlingly simple and unencumbered by intricate subplots, allowing the full charm of the characters and their virtuosic music to come across in an uninhibited way.

Bergamo-born Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848) composed about 75 operas, plus orchestral and chamber music, in a career abbreviated by mental illness and premature death. Apart from the ever-popular “Lucia di Lammermoor” and the comic gems “L’Elisir d’Amore” and “Don Pasquale”, most of his works disappeared from public view after his death. But critical and popular opinion of his huge opus has grown considerably over the past 50 years. The librettist Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges (1799–1875) was a dramatist and the manager of the Opéra Comique. He also wrote the libretto for the enduringly popular ballet “Giselle” and was a frequent collaborator of the most successful theatrical personalities of his day.

The Middlebury show at Town Hall Theater will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 2. There will be a free talk downstairs at 12:15 p.m. by Richard Marshak. Tickets are $24 for adult and $10 for students. For more information or tickets visit or call 802-382-9222. org.

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