Sunday 21 January 2007

La Fille du Regiment

To the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on Saturday for Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment with Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez. Quite Wonderful. A review will appear in due course.

The programme included various informative articles, including one about women appearing on stage in the guise of soldiers. But there is one aspect that neither the production nor the programme book addressed. As the opera opens, Marie has become a Vivandiere (translated as mess-girl). Now, these women were not noted for their morals and in the opera Marie has sworn to marry a member of the regiment, one of here 'Fathers'. This sexual aspect would, surely, have occurred to the French listeners, well the male ones as well, so that the entire performance would have had an underlying feel of the incest taboo, even if the stage events did not emphasise this. Thankfully Laurent Pelly chose to ignore this as well in his production.

Another area which he ignored was language. The troups, and Marie, are French, Tonio is Tyrolean and the Marquise is not French either, she's local. So there would have been a great deal of scope for mixing of accent and language in the dialogue. Something that was missed

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