You can’t talk about “Daughter of the Regiment” without talking about those famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) high C’s. Tenor Santiago Ballerini making his role debut as Tonio impressively hits them all in “Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête!,” the Act 1 aria in which they appear, but in general, outside of those sturdy and resonant high C’s, there’s too often the sense of a singer pacing himself, of power willfully measured and restrained.
Andriana Chuchman and Santiago Ballerini star in the Atlanta Opera’s “The Daughter of the Regiment.” CONTRIBUTED BY JEFF ROFFMAN
Soprano Andriana Chuchman brings a lot of physical comedy to the lead role of the tomboyish Marie. On opening night, she was slow to warm on early arias, but her beautiful “Il faut partir mes bons compagnons d’armes” had a surprisingly moving, genuinely lovely plaintiveness in spite of the silliness of the situation, and she, like Ballerini, seemed to catch her groove in Act 2, approaching the act’s arias and its humor with an appealing sense of ease and fluidity. Her scenes with Italian bass Stefano de Peppo as Sulpice are among the opera’s best.
Director E. Loren Meeker keeps things on the light side; for better or worse, perhaps both, the atmosphere, tone and humor recall “The Carol Burnett Show.” With so much regimental music, choreographer Meg Gillentine has ample opportunity to give the singers movement, and this they handle surprisingly well; it’s one of the production’s many delightful small charms.
Conductor Christopher Allen, recipient of the 2017 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, manages the difficult job of balancing the need for a lively pace with an equally compelling instinct to savor the languorous prettiness of Donizetti's sumptuous music: He brings out interesting variety from the musicians and instruments from the opening moments of the overture as melody moves from section to section.
It would be hard to identify any thing particularly wrong with the new production of “The Daughter of the Regiment.” Things are clearly in the right place, but overall the show lacks the outrageous energy and over-the-top lively irreverence that help give the frothy comedy its life. Still, the whole thing is bright and fun, short (by opera standards) and sweet, so it’s hard to complain.
The Atlanta Opera’s “The Daughter of the Regiment”
7:30 p.m. Feb. 27; 8 p.m. March 2; 3 p.m. March 4. $35-$131. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 404-881-8885, www.atlantaopera.org.
IN OTHER NEWS:
EGOT - What It Is and Who Has Won It