Gaetano Donizetti’s La fille du régiment (The daughter of the Regiment)
When: June 8, 10-11, 8.30pm
Where: DPAC (Tickets at www.dpac.com.my)
When: June 17-18, 8.30pm
Where: Penang Performing Arts Centre (Tickets at www.ticketpro.com.my)
MANY opera lovers look forward to the tenor’s aria A mes amis, in Gaetano Donizetti’s La fille du régiment (The daughter of the Regiment) for its nine high Cs, but the tale is such a light-hearted love story that everybody can enjoy it.
It’s about an abandoned baby girl, Marie, who is adopted by a regiment of the French army. Soon enough, the tomboyish teenager meets Tonio, but she has already promised to marry a regiment member.
Tonio enlists just to marry Marie but then one royal lady discovers Marie and, declaring her as her long-lost niece, takes her to be properly educated and married.
As Marie is about to wed the Duke of Krakenthorp, her royal patron finally understands Marie’s love for her regiment and Tonio. Donizetti’s popular opera, with its hummable melodies, has a happy ending.
For soprano Jane Soong, who plays Marie, she says getting to know the story behind the opera music helps her deliver the emotions in the show.
“Opera is a big challenge. The music is beautiful yet difficult to sing,” says Soong, 33, from Seremban.
Her talent was discovered by her primary school headmaster, who also recommended the vocal coach.
“I was 12 years old then. I was reluctant to get into opera as I wanted to be a pop star. But after a few years of vocal training, I grew to like it. I wanted to conquer it.”
She started by singing arias, at University Malaya, but only got into her first opera at the Louisiana State University where she got her advanced degree.
With Soong for the show are her husband tenor Yap Jin Hin as Tonio, Shawn Liew as Sgt Sulpice and Regina Neoh as the Marquise of Berkenfield.
Executive producer Danny Chen is proud that the Kuala Lumpur City Opera production will boast a local cast. Along with performers for the Opera Gala Spectacular concert on June 9, he says the event will see 13 principal singers, 2 pianists and a 45-member chorus.
The gala concert marks the fifth year KLCO, formerly known as The Eat, Sing & Travel People, was established in 2012.
“The gala concert is also to allow our singers for La fille du régiment to rest their vocal chords.
“The gala will be a night of the best opera music from famous operas such as Madama Butterfly, La Traviata, Rigoletto, Manon Lescaut, Die Zauberflöte and more. It will feature 8 artistes including sopranos Sandy Cheng, Evelyn Toh, Yeoh Ker Ker; tenors Solomon Chong, Tan Chee Shen; baritone John Tan and on piano Soon Kun Ming and Tomonari Tsuchiya.”
Chen, 44, points out that this will be the first time KLCO is bringing its production to Penang. “That’s also exciting, as I know there are many opera lovers there.
“To stage an opera production is a challenge. As in life, you can choose to do the same old thing or something different,” says the Kuala Lumpur native.
Perhaps, it’s time we all choose the path less travelled when it comes to music!