The NCPA (National Centre for the Performing Arts) production of Donizetti’s comic opera La Fille du Régiment is set to dazzle audiences on March 14th-18th in the Theatre. On February 26th, NCPA Vice President ZHAO Tiechun, as well as conductor Matteo Beltrami, director Pier Francesco Maestrini, and lead singers Sabina Puértolas, GUO Chengcheng, SHI Yijie and Pietro Adaíni, were all present at a press conference.
NCPA Vice President ZHAO Tiechun, creative team and cast of La Fille du Régiment attended the conference
Photo by XIAO Yi
Donizetti stood tall as one of the leading figures in Italian opera creations in the first half of the 19th century. While romanticism had swept across Europe, Donizetti created many amazing comic operas. His operas are dramatic and he was brilliant at designing dramatic conflicts and depicting personality traits accompanied by top-notch music, so as to narrate a vivid story in detail. La Fille du Régiment is the third NCPA production of Donizetti’s operas following L’Elisir D’Amore and Don Pasquale, and it’s the 60th opera produced by the NCPA in the past ten years since its grand opening. The opera tale is about love full of twists and turns between the daughter of the regiment Marie and young man Tonio. The plot is humorous, interesting and rich in musical expressions, alongside arias sung by the leading actor and actress that are both unique in style and challenging to perform, e.g., Ah mes amis - Pour mon ame, a famous tenor aria in which nine high-Cs must be sung without stopping within two minutes.
The opera is set to dazzle audiences on March 14th-18th in the NCPA Theatre
Photo by XIAO Yi
The NCPA production La Fille du Régiment is directed by the world-renowned Italian opera director Pier Francesco Maestrini. He had also delivered many joys to audiences in several comic operas produced by the NPCA and directed by him, including Don Pasquale, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and L’elisir D’amore. In La Fille du Régiment there is a distinctive scene of ice and snow composed of a snow mountain, snowfield, sleds and ski suits designed by Maestrini in collaboration with set designer/projection designer Juan Guillermo Nova and costume designer Dall’Alpi Luca. The scene mirrors the stunning scenery of a snow mountain in a Swiss town, and provides snow-covered landscapes for Beijing citizens. Maestrini sets the story in the 1950s-60s, and gives a sense of modernity to the character images and costumes. In ActⅠ, the soldiers are dressed in nice ski suits; in ActⅡ, the nobility characters in the castle in Paris are dressed in dashing evening clothes. The costume designer has designed a flamboyant dalmatian overcoat for the Duchess, inspired from The Hundred and One Dalmatians; Marie’s “pet” polar bear is also amusing, which is designed to reveal how “tough” is Marie, who had grown up in the barracks. The production crew maintains the traditions of comic operas and adopts romantic elements through delicate designs, giving the opera a youthful, dynamic and fashionable atmosphere. A brand-new audio-visual feast will be offered for the entire audience.
This is the first time Italian conductor Matteo Beltrami has cooperated with the NCPA. He said, “Compared with Don Pasquale and L’Elisir D’Amore, there is more fashionable and avantgarde music in La Fille du Régiment. We’ll highlight the comic effect and retain many dialogues, to perform in the opera in a popular way.” He will give a five-day performance together with two groups of sophisticated singers from at home and abroad, such as Sabina Puértolas, GUO Chengcheng, SHI Yijie, Pietro Adaíni, Giovanni Romeo, LIU Songhu, Doris Lamprecht, Daniela Mazzuccato, WANG Hexiang and ZHAO Denghui.
Soprano Sabina Puértolas, who plays Marie, performed in the La Fille du Régiment directed by Laurent Perry at Liceu Opera Barcelona. She said, “La Fille du Régiment is approachable both dramatically and musically. It suits not only opera lovers, but also those that haven’t watched any operas yet.” Tenor Pietro Adaíni, who plays Tonio, performed in La Fille du Régiment in Palermo and Oman, and this is the first time he has visited China to perform in an opera. SHI Yijie, however, holds a more indissoluble bond with La Fille du Régiment. He said, “The most popular version of La Fille du Régiment is the one produced by the Vienna Staatsoper. I remember it premiered in 2007, when I was in Vienna. To listen to my “idol” Florenzi on the spot, I started early in the morning of April 1st, at 8:30, to queue up for a ticket for its premiere. There were three old men in front of me, who were well prepared, with a deck chair under their body, but I took nothing with me and dared not go to the toilet. I stood a whole day and finally bought a standing-room-only ticket.” SHI Yijie has deep love for the opera, but he has never performed in it before. He said, “I was often invited to sing Ah mes amis - Pour mon ame, but I turned them all down, because I wanted to sing this aria when I performed in a full-length La Fille du Régiment. I have waited long for this day!”