Opera + Classical Music Reviews

Daughter of the Regiment review – hitting the high notes

19 June 2024

Grange Park Opera marches to a different drummer.

Daughter of the Regiment

Anna Steiger, Julia Sitkovetsky, Nico Darmanin, Henry Grant Kerswell, Harriet Thorpe & Enrico Marabelli (Photo: Marc Brenner)

Grange Park Opera’s season is, as ever, impressively balanced this year – star quality with the Bryn Terfel double bill, slice of Summer fun with this Donizetti, and heartbreaking tragedy with Katya Kabanova. Glorious weather showed the stunning gardens at their best, and an enthusiastic audience cheered this excellent cast to the rafters.

The conductor Claire Levacher is a new name to us, but one we’ll certainly be hearing again. She directed the Gascoigne Orchestra with meticulous care and sensitivity, allowing the various sections to shine and crafting a most beautiful ‘reception’ scene. Julia Sitkovetsky has the notes for the ‘Daughter’, and she presented a winning combination of sweetness and determination in her character – the scene where she ‘mangles’ an aria, accompanied by her ‘aunt’, was extremely well done.

Nico Darmanin is not Juan Diego Flórez, but his ‘Ah mes Amis’ was a great deal more than a game stab, and he presented Tonio’s character persuasively. Enrico Marabelli had the audience in the palm of his hand as Sulpice, and Anna Steiger was a force to be reckoned with as the Marquise, although her first aria did not quite hit home.

“…an enthusiastic audience cheered this excellent cast to the rafters”

Daughter of the Regiment

Nico Darmanin, Julia Sitkovetsky & Enrico Marabelli (Photo: Marc Brenner)

Henry Grant Kerswell was an amusingly snobbish Hortensius, and Harriet Thorpe a splendidly over-the-top Crakenthorp. Tim Bagley’s Private and Redmond Sanders’ Corporal both made the most of their parts. The Chorus sang beautifully, their opening scene in particular revealing some very fine voices.

John Doyle’s production has the flavour of a Gilbert & Sullivan piece, with most of the action played out directly in the front of the stage and the arias presented very much as declarations. The set designs make good use of the contrasts between barracks and stately home, and the costumes (Gabrielle Dalton) are sumptuous. Tim Mitchell’s lighting design is subtle, making the interior look glowing.

So why not four stars? As the title should have warned us, it’s sung in English – which is all very well if there are also surtitles, but these were lacking, which meant that in some cases, not quite perfect diction led to some of the humour misfiring. Much better to sing it in French with English surtitles, so that nothing is missed – and we can then appreciate the little touches such as Tonio’s shift from ‘vous’ to ‘tu’ when declaring his love for Marie.

• Details of upcoming performances can be found here.

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Daughter of the Regiment review – hitting the high notes