Photo Journal: Daughter of the Regiment at Houston Grand Opera

Opera   Photo Journal: Daughter of the Regiment at Houston Grand Opera
 
A week after opening its 2007-08 season with a new production of Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, Houston Grand Opera presents its second fall opera: Donizetti's sparkling comedy La Fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) in five performances beginning this evening at the Wortham Theater Center.

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?")

For more information on Daughter of the Regiment, Un ballo in maschera the rest of Houston Grand Opera's 2007-08 season, visit www.houstongrandopera.org.

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All photos by Andrew Cloud.

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