Bold. Brave. Brilliant.
By Gaetano Donizetti

The Daughter of the Regiment

Act I

In the Tyrolean mountains, the Marquise of Berkenfield and her butler, Hortensius, are stopped on their journey to Austria because they have found the French army blocking their way.  Hortensius asks Sulpice, the sergeant of the French army, to allow them to pass, and he agrees.  Joining Sulpice is Marie, a pretty young woman who was adopted by the 11th regiment when she was found as an orphaned baby on the battlefield.  She is considered the mascot of the regiment and feels that all of the soldiers are her fathers.

When Sulpice asks Marie about the young man she has been seen with, she explains that although he is Swiss and therefore the enemy, he once saved her life by preventing her from falling over a precipice.  Troops of the regiment arrive with this same young man, Tonio, who claims that he was looking for Marie.  The soldiers believe he is a spy, but Marie steps in to save him.  When Tonio discovers that Marie can only marry a soldier of the 11th regiment, he immediately enlists.

The Marquise of Berkenfield asks Sulpice for an escort to return to her castle.  Hearing the name Berkenfield, Sulpice remembers papers that were left with Marie when they found her as a baby.  He questions the Marquise about it, and they soon discover that Marie is the long-lost daughter of the Marquise’s sister.  Shocked by Marie’s rough manners, the Marquise decides that Marie must come with her to live at her castle and receive training to be a lady.  Marie sadly bids farewell to the ‘fathers’ that raised her and the man she loves as she goes with the Marquise.

Act II

Marie is living at the Berkenfield castle with the marquise and Sulpice who is recovering from an injury.  The Marquise gives Marie a singing lesson while she accompanies at the piano, but Marie, encouraged by Sulpice, slips in phrases of the regimental song which causes the marquise to lose her temper.  Marie is left alone to contemplate the meaninglessness of wealth and position when she hears soldiers in the distance and is surprised to see the entire regiment file into the hall.  Tonio asks for Marie’s hand in marriage but the marquise declares that Marie is engaged to Scipion, the nephew of the Duchess of Krakenthorp.  Alone with Sulpice, the marquise confesses that Marie is her own illegitimate daughter whom she abandoned for fear of social disgrace.

When the wedding party arrives, Marie refuses to leave her room, but when Sulpice tells Marie that the marquise is her mother, she feels she cannot go against her mother’s wishes and agrees to marry Scipion.  However, the soldiers of her regiment, led by Tonio, come to rescue her before she can sign the marriage contract.  Marie sings fondly of her upbringing with the regiment and the debt she owes them for raising her, and the marquise is so touched that she agrees to let Marie marry Tonio.