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Donizetti’s Masterpiece Returns to State Opera after 110 Years

Gaetano Donizetti’s masterpiece, La fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) was first performed in Hungary in 1844 at the National Theater of Pest, where it had 33 performances. Later, it was also performed at the Hungarian Royal Opera (now the Hungarian State Opera), where it bid farewell in 1908 after 54 performances over 114 years. On January 14, 2022, it will return to the repertoire of the Hungarian State Opera.

This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute. Translated by Júlia Tar.

The operatic work La fille du régiment is set during the time of the Napoleonic Wars and was one of the most successful operas by Gaetano Donizetti in its time. In 1838, Donizetti, tired of constant battles with Italian censorship, moved to Paris. There the great Italian bel canto composer wrote his first comic opera in French, drawing heavily on the peculiarities of the French style of the Opéra-Comique and its composers.

Rehearsal photo by János Kummer

The opera focuses on Marie and the story of her upbringing. Today, Donizetti’s portrayal of the “carefree” life of a soldier no longer has any meaning. Nevertheless, it is interesting how a girl raised by soldiers lives in a different world, in an aristocratic civilian milieu and a blossoming love affair.

The work has not been performed in Hungary for over a century, but it will return to the repertoire of the Hungarian State Opera on January 14, 2022, produced by Csaba Polgár with spoken dialogues by András Péter Kovács.

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State Opera House's Eiffel Workshop Opens

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According to director Csaba Polgár, “If you look at the play today, this situation resembles that of a child of divorced parents, where both the mother and the father try to impose their will, losing the will of the child in the process. For me, this is the most important question that arises in relation to the play and to which I seek an answer: What level of care or concern is oppressive and harmful? Is the boy who enlists in the army and then returns the same man the girl fell in love with? Is he really her way out?”

Tickets for the performance are available here.

Featured image via János Kummer