Director Emilio Sagi has set his staging (of which we have photos below) in the waning days of World War II, so that the regiment of soldiers that has found and brought up the young girl Marie (the titular daughter) are Americans who have just liberated the area from the Axis.
Soprano Laura Claycomb plays Marie, with tenor Barry Banks as her beloved Tonio and baritone Bruno Pratic‹ as the honest Sergeant Sulpice. Contralto Ewa Podles, who's also playing the fortune-teller Ulrica in Ballo, her takes the role of the Marquise de Berkenfield, the aristocrat who claims Marie as her long-lost
daughter niece. (Ahem.)
In an unusual bit of casting, Houston Grand Opera's own artistic administrator, Diane Zola, plays a speaking character, the Duchess of Krakenthorp. (When HGO general director Anthony Freud first suggested that she take the part, Zola reports, her reply was "How many drinks did you have at dinner?")
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All photos by Andrew Cloud.