Arts and Entertainment

Bainbridge opera expert gives preview of 'Daughter of the Regiment'

Opera aficionado Norm Hollingshead will give a preview of Seattle Opera’s presentation of “Daughter of the Regiment
Opera aficionado Norm Hollingshead will give a preview of Seattle Opera’s presentation of “Daughter of the Regiment' at the Bainbridge Public Library on Saturday, Oct. 12.
— image credit: Image courtesy of Seattle Opera | Photo © J. Kat, Inc.

Get a preview of Seattle Opera’s presentation of “Daughter of the Regiment,” presented by opera aficionado Norm Hollingshead, at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Bainbridge Library.

Donizetti’s lively and graceful comedy sparkles with high notes and great fun. The preview program is funded by the Bainbridge Island Friends of the Library.

Donizetti’s "The Daughter of the Regiment" tells the story of Marie, a tomboy forced against her will to become a lady.

This light-hearted opera features a girl with a whole regiment full of fathers, some of the composer’s most romantic music, a formidable grand dame duchess played by a man, and a tenor who hits nine high Cs in the space of one minute.

Seattle Opera’s production, set in the 1940s, opens on Saturday, Oct. 19, and runs for seven performances through Nov. 2.

“This crowd-pleasing opera is the perfect opportunity to bring together Sarah Coburn and Lawrence Brownlee. It’s almost as if Donizetti created the piece to showcase their talents,” said Speight Jenkins, Seattle Opera’s general director. “It’s as charming a piece as Donizetti ever composed — and a perfect follow-up to the Ring.”

Soprano Sarah Coburn, whom Opera News has called “blissfully sublime,” appears on opening night as Marie. Theater Jones praised her Tulsa Opera performance of this role, in which “she completely captured the character of the uncomfortable misfit at the stuffy royal court.”

Both Coburn and tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who sings her love-interest Tonio, are former Seattle Opera Young Artists; both appeared at Seattle Opera in 2011 as Count Almaviva and Rosina in "The Barber of Seville." According to the Houston Press, “There’s no better Rossini tenor today than Lawrence Brownlee.” The New York Times has praised Brownlee’s “agility” and “elegance,” and Opera Today, reviewing his performances in Rossini’s Armida and La donna del lago, writes “the ease with which Mr. Brownlee meets these demands is awe-inspiring.”

Brownlee won Seattle Opera’s Artist of the Year Award in 2008 for his performance as Arturo in "I puritani" in 2008.

Another former Seattle Opera Young Artist, Andrew Stenson, takes on Tonio in the alternate cast. Stenson surprised and delighted Seattle Opera audiences in March, 2012 by replacing an indisposed William Burden at a performance of "Orphée et Eurydice."

"The Daughter of the Regiment" features the Seattle Opera debut of Canadian baritone Alexander Hajek as Sulpice.

Mezzo soprano Joyce Castle sings the "Marquise of Birkenfield." Castle has given Seattle Opera memorable performances of such characters as Prince Orlofsky, Herodias, and Mrs. Bertram in "The End of the Affair."

Peter Kazaras, whose Seattle Opera credits include major tenor roles, impressive work as stage director, and Artistic Director of the Young Artists Program (from 2006 through 2013), makes his role debut as the Duchess of Krackenthorp.

As a special treat, at these performances of "The Daughter of the Regiment," Kazaras (as the Duchess) will sing “Ah! Quel diner je viens de faire” from Offenbach’s La Périchole, accompanied by Castle (as the Marquise) at the piano.

Yves Abel, whose Seattle Opera credits include "La Cenerentola," "Vanessa," "Die Fledermaus," "The End of the Affair," and "Il trovatore," conducts "The Daughter of the Regiment." The production, by director Emilio Sagi and designer Julio Galán, comes from Teatro Comunale di Bologna and sets the action in the 1940s.


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