Daughter of the Regiment 101 – Characters and Plot

A woman soldier in a red and navy blue uniform saluting with a line of silhouetted soldiers behind her.

Opera often brings a love story to center stage, but not like this! Daughter of the Regiment tells the light-hearted tale of how the most important battle is the one for the heart. And, as a bonus, this is the first time Opera Colorado has ever produced this opera!

Learn all about Marie and her militant upbringing before watching her story unfold this fall.

Daughter of the Regiment is onstage this November. Tickets go on sale on July 29, but you can subscribe today. Get tickets to Daughter of the Regiment and La bohème for 25% off>>


The Origins of Daughter of the Regiment

Composer – Gaetano Donizetti (November 29, 1797—April 8, 1848)

Librettists – Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges (November 7, 1799—December 23, 1875) and Jean-François Bayard (March 17, 1796—February 20, 1853)

Premiere – February 11, 1840, Paris

The Characters of Daughter of the Regiment

Marie (soprano) – a young woman raised among the camaraderie of the twenty-first French regiment. Played by Katrina Galka, making her Opera Colorado debut.

Tonio (tenor) – an outsider and Marie’s love interest. Played by Andrew Stenson, returning to Opera Colorado after performing in Barber of Seville (Count Almaviva) in 2019.

Sergeant Sulpice (bass) – one of Marie’s many father figures in the French regiment. Played by Stefano De Peppo, returning to Opera Colorado after performing in Tosca (Sacristan) in 2021 and in The Barber of Seville (Dr. Bartolo) in 2019.

Marquise of Birkenfeld (contralto) – Marie’s long-lost aunt and an affluent lady with a royal title. Played by Catherine Cook, returning to Opera Colorado after performing in several of our productions, including Cavalleria rusticana (Mamma Lucia) in 2022, April in Paris! (Julia Child) in our 2021 digital programming, and Rusalka (Ježibaba) in 2011.

Duchess of Krakenthorp (spoken role) – the dreaded mother of the suitor the Marquise has chosen for Marie. Performed by Monét X Change, making her Opera Colorado debut.

The Plot of Daughter of the Regiment

Daughter of the Regiment — Act One

1910 poster for the opera. Created by Emile Finot.

Early nineteenth century in the Tyrolean Alps, during Napoleon’s occupation

A group of villagers are worried about the raging war as they prepare for the French army’s advancement. Among them, the Marquise of Birkenfeld is anxious to return home. The tension dissipates when the French soldiers retreat, but Sergeant Sulpice appears with Marie, the regiment’s canteen girl, and the villagers scatter in fear. Sergeant Sulpice questions Marie about a man he has seen her with, and she reveals his name is Tonio and he is a Tyrolean peasant. At that moment, Tonio is dragged in by French soldiers who accuse him of being a spy, having found him lurking around their camp. Marie saves him from execution by explaining that he once saved her life, and the soldiers quickly change their tune and welcome Tonio as a brother. The soldiers leave, taking Tonio with them, but Tonio escapes and runs back to Marie. The pair confess their love for one another, and Marie explains that Tonio must gain the approval of her “fathers”—the soldiers of the regiment—if they are to marry. Sergeant Sulpice chases Tonio off, who rejoins the soldiers. Marie also leaves, leaving Sergeant Sulpice with the Marquise of Birkenfeld.

Explaining that she is trying to return home, the Marquise asks Sergeant Sulpice to escort her to her castle. When the Sergeant hears the name Birkenfeld, he connects it to a letter he found with Marie when he found her on the battlefield as an infant. The Marquise of Birkenfeld explains that her sister had a baby who was abandoned—it’s Marie! Marie returns and is introduced to her long-lost aunt. Surprised by Marie’s roughness, the Marquise decides she will take Marie with her to show her how to be a proper lady. Tonio enters and announces that he has joined the regiment. He asks the soldiers for Marie’s hand in marriage, to which they agree, but Tonio’s joy is short-lived. Marie bids a tearful goodbye to her “fathers” as she leaves with the Marquise.

Daughter of the Regiment — Act Two

Euphrasie Borghèse as Marie and François-Louis Henry as Sergeant Sulpice as first performed on February 11, 1840 in Paris.

Birkenfeld Castle

Marie has been living with the Marquise for several months and is deeply unhappy. The Marquise has arranged for Marie to marry the Duke of Krakenthorp and she has called on Sergeant Sulpice’s help to convince Marie to agree to the marriage. The Marquise encourages Marie to show the Sergeant what she has learned by playing a song on the piano. However, Marie transforms the tune into the regimental song.

When Marie is left alone, she wishes she was with Tonio and the regiment. Just as Marie is about to accept her fate, the regiment marches in with Tonio, who is now an officer. Marie and Tonio plead with Sergeant Sulpice to make a case to the Marquise that the two of them should be married. The Marquise angrily denies their wish and dismisses Marie and Tonio, sending them in opposite directions. The Marquise confides in Sergeant Sulpice that she is in fact Marie’s mother and Marie is her illegitimate daughter from an affair with a captain. She asks Sergeant Sulpice once more to convince Marie to marry the Duke of Krakenthorp so the Marquise’s secret can be kept and Marie’s future and fortune secured.

The Duchess of Krakenthorp enters with her son and the wedding entourage. Marie enters and, knowing that the Marquise is her mother, embraces her and is prepared to marry the Duke. The regiment storms in, declaring that they will not allow Marie, their daughter, to marry anyone other than Tonio. Marie sings of her commitment to the regiment and how they saved her. The Marquise is deeply moved and reveals that she is Marie’s mother. She gives Marie and Tonio her blessing to marry and everyone rejoices!

Are you ready to see the opera live?

Experience Opera Colorado’s first ever production of Daughter of the Regiment live at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House from November 9-17. Tickets go on sale on July 29, but you can subscribe today. Get tickets to Daughter of the Regiment and La bohème for 25% off>>



What are you most excited to see in Daughter of the Regiment? Let us know in the comments below!

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