The Daughter of the Regiment


Marie is a spirited and charming tomboy, adopted and raised by a French army regiment, and she has fallen in love with the handsome Tonio. When she receives new information about her identity, she must decide whether to follow her place in society, or follow her heart. Acclaimed director E. Loren Meeker leads this production of Donizetti’s screwball comedy set among the Swiss Alps.

Andriana Chuchman will sing the role of Marie, and Atlanta Opera Studio alum Santiago Ballerini will sing the challenging role of Tonio (Including those famous 9 high-Cs!). Ballerini was last seen on the main stage during the 2015-16 season as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet.

Performed in French with English supertitles

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Friday evening’s performance is sponsored by Victoria and Howard Palefsky.

Santiago Ballerini is sponsored by John and Rosemary Brown.

Additional support for Andriana Chuchman is provided by John L. Hammaker.



All Performances: Pre-show fine dining
$53 for Sat, Tues, Fri dinner
$42.40 for Sun brunch

Opera’s Night Out

Friday, March 2: Young professionals enjoy a pre-show cocktail hour + ticket to the show
$40 for Under 40

Student Rush Tickets

All Performances: Students with ID may purchase discount tickets two hours in advance at the Cobb Energy Centre
$25 – 35 per seat

Final Dress Rehearsal

Thursday, Feb 22: Teachers with students may attend the final dress rehearsal for FREE
Apply here

Student Short

Thursday, March 1: Schools groups attend a special performance at the Cobb Energy Centre


All Performances: Save up to 25%
For groups of 10 or more

Get the Feeling of the Show

Total time estimate: 2 hours 5 minutes


Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Librettist:  Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François Bayard
Premiere Date: February 11, 1840

Act I
A group of Swiss, including the Marquise of Berkenfield and Hortensius, her major-domo, nervously await the outcome of a skirmish with the French troops. They pray to the Virgin for protection, but the Marquise cannot refrain from commenting how the French troops are like pirates, not respectful of rank. Assured that the danger is past, the Marquise enters a nearby cottage. Sgt. Sulpice of the 21st Regiment enters, soon followed by the vivandière Marie. Marie has been raised since infancy by the men of the 21st, who regard her as their joint “daughter.” Marie has learned the easy ways and surprising oaths common to French soldiers. The men of the Regiment come in with Tonio, a Tyrolean peasant they have caught loitering about. Marie reveals that Tonio saved her life when she was about to fall off a precipice, and now she has fallen in love with him. The regimental “fathers” cannot conceive of giving their daughter in marriage to a man who is not a French soldier, let alone a man who is not a member of the 21st. Marie sings the regimental song, an irresistible performance that inspires Tonio to confess that he has followed Marie because he loves her. Marie weighs the evidence of Tonio’s affection and decides in his favor. In a scene between the Marquise, who reappears from the cottage, and Sulpice, it comes out that, as she tells it, her sister had been married to Captain Robert of the 21st and they had a daughter, who had been mislaid in earliest infancy. Sulpice assures her that her niece is not at all dead, as the Marquise feared, but rather she has been dutifully raised by the Regiment. The Marquise insists that this is no proper environment for a child of the aristocracy and maintains that Marie must go home with her to receive the training her position warrants. Just then Tonio returns with a uniform of the 21st; he has enlisted to make himself eligible to marry Marie. Marie is upset by this and says she must leave with the Marquise and gives a moving farewell to Tonio and the Regiment. As Marie is led away by the Marquise, Tonio swears that he will find her again one day.

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Act II
At the Château de Berkenfield, Marie is being taught dancing, deportment, and singing. The Marquise has determined to make a great match for Marie and marry her to the son of the Duchess of Krakenthorp. Sulpice comes to visit Marie. When it is time for Marie’s singing lesson, Sulpice listens impatiently as she is instructed by her aunt in an inspired air by Garat and soon urges her to sing the old regimental song of the 21st instead, much to the dismay of the Marquise. Sulpice leaves to investigate a report that soldiers are appearing in the neighborhood. Marie, alone, thinks that rank and wealth are no substitutes for spontaneity of feeling. The sound of a drum announces the arrival of the men of the 21st to see their daughter. There is a joyful reunion of Tonio, now an officer, with Marie and Sulpice. The Marquise appears and is put out by the sight of Tonio, who tries to make her understand how his love for Marie has changed his life. The Marquise informs Tonio of Marie’s coming marriage and asks him to leave. When she is alone with Sulpice, the Marquise confesses her secret: Marie is her own daughter, not her niece, and the noble marriage will make Marie secure from scandal. Hortensius announces the arrival of the guests and the Duchess of Krakenthorp. Everything is ready for the signing of the contract, but Tonio and the soldiers burst in and announce that Marie has been a vivandièr and the daughter of the Regiment. The aristocratic guests are horrified by these revelations. The Marquise, remembering her own unhappy past and moved by the sight of Marie’s evident love for Tonio, gives her consent to the match. The Duchess retreats in shock, but everyone else celebrates the triumph of true love.

Courtesy of San Francisco Opera

Characters & Cast


The adopted canteen girl of the French regiment who falls for Tonio.

Andriana Chuchman

Soprano Andriana Chuchman reprises the role of Marie which she recently sang with the Washington National Opera.


The young Swiss who joins the regiment and is Marie’s suitor.

Santiago Ballerini

One of the leading tenors in Bel Canto repertoire, Ballerini has sung in all major opera houses in South and North America.


Sergeant of the Twenty-First Regiment of the French army and father figure to Marie.

Stefano de Peppo

Bass-baritone Stefano de Peppo was last seen at The Atlanta Opera as Bartolo in The Barber of Seville in 2014. He is one of the most sought after artists for character bass parts.

The Marquise of Berkenfield

A mysterious noblewoman who takes Marie away to be educated as a “proper lady.”

Stephanie Blythe

A renowned opera singer and recitalist, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is considered one of the most highly respected and critically acclaimed artists of her generation.

A First Timer’s Guide

The Opera Experience

Operas on our mainstage are grand theatrical experiences. You can always expect the unexpected, and for our productions to be presented at the highest quality.


Many operas are in a foreign language. Supertitles are similar to subtitles in a film, except they are projected above the stage. These translations will help you follow what’s happening on stage.

What to Wear

There is no dress code at The Opera and you will see everything from jeans to evening gowns and formal suits. Most people use it as a chance to enjoy dressing up in their own style.

Arriving in Good Time

If you are late, you will be escorted to the nearest late seating area. At intermission ushers will show you to your seat. Plan ahead to arrive with extra time.

Directions & Parking at Cobb Energy Center

Enhance Your Visit

Pre-Performance Talk

Learn about the history of the opera, the composer, and more from artists and opera aficionados. One hour prior to curtain. Free with your ticket!

Learn More

Familiarizing Yourself with the Story

Because of the foreign languages, classical music, and often complex plots, you will very likely enjoy the performance better if you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the story and characters in advance. Some people even like to listen to the music in advance and others prefer to let it wash over them during the show and perhaps look it up afterwards.

Visit our Study Guides Library

How is an Opera Staged?


Actors first audition for roles up to a year in advance, or for more experienced artists, directors also invite them to play a role.


Most of the rehearsals are held in our rehearsal hall, and not the actual theatre. The conductor begins orchestra rehearsals about a week and half before opening night. They have four rehearsals with the conductor, and then the singers are added into the mix.

Sets & Costumes

The Atlanta Opera Costume Shop alters the costumes to fit our singers. Sometimes they do have to make costumes if there aren’t enough, or if there is nothing that fits, etc. Once the sets are in place, the cast begins rehearsing at the theatre. The Opera production staff works with staff at the theatre to get all of the lighting and technical aspects of the production together.

Sitzprobe & Dress Rehearsal

The orchestra comes together with the singers in a special rehearsal called sitzprobe. There are no costumes during the sitzprobe, this is mainly to hear the voices with the orchestra. There is a piano dress rehearsal, when the singers rehearse in full costume for the first time so they can get used to wearing them. Finally, all of the pieces are put together for two full dress rehearsals leading up to opening night.


Gaetano Donizetti
(1797 – 1848)

Gaetano Donizetti was born November 29, 1797 in Bergamo, Italy. He, Bellini and Rossini were the three great masters of the opera style known as bel canto. Bel canto operas have set numbers of separate arias and ensembles that feature particularly florid vocal writing designed to show off the human voice to maximum effect. These works demand great virtuosity from singers and once served as star vehicles for leading operatic performers. Donizetti dominated the Italian opera scene during the years between Bellini’s death and Verdi’s rise to fame after Nabucco.

Donizetti’s musical talents were apparent at an early age, and he was admitted to the Lezioni Caritatevoli school on full scholarship when he was nine years old. The school was founded by Simon Mayr, who had a significant influence upon Donizetti’s musical development and helped the young composer launch his professional career. Mayr sent Donizetti to Padre Stanislao Mattei, the teacher of Rossini, for further compositional instruction. Mayr also partially paid for the lessons with Mattei and arranged for Bartolomeo Merelli to write the librettos for Donizetti’s early stage works.

Between 1817 and 1821, Donizetti received several commissions from Paolo Zanca. His first staged opera was Enrico di Borgogna in 1818. He wrote several other works during this period, including chamber and church music as well as opera. It was the success of his fourth opera, Zoraide di Grenata, that caught the attention of Domenico Barbaia, the most important theater manager of his time. Barbaia offered Donizetti a contract. The young composer accepted it and moved to Naples, which was Barbaia’s primary business location. For the next eight years Donizetti wrote works for Rome and Milan as well as Naples, with mixed success. It was not until 1830, with the performances of Anna Bolena in Milan, that Donizetti achieved international fame.

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Donizetti was a prolific composer, writing both comic and serious operas as well as solo vocal music. Throughout his career he battled with the powerful Italian censors to put his works on stage. Two of his best-known comedies, L’elisir d’amore (1832) and Don Pasquale (1843), are considered masterpieces of comic opera and continue to hold their places in the standard performing repertoire. Perhaps his most famous serious opera is Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), although Anna Bolena has enjoyed considerable success in this century through the efforts of such artists as Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland. Donizetti was well acquainted with the greatest singers of his day, and he created many of the roles in his operas for their specific vocal talents.

As Donizetti’s fame grew, he was able to accept of variety of engagements, writing operas for Paris as well as the famous opera houses of Italy. He relocated to Paris in 1838. It was there that he composed La fille du régiment in 1840, which is still frequently performed. Donizetti was also appointed music director for the Italian opera season at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna, a position secured for him by Mirelli, the librettist for his early works.

Donizetti was a friendly and sincere man, supportive of fellow composers and other artists, and loyal to his long-time mentor Mayr. Unfortunately, he endured great tragedy in his personal life. Donizetti had met his wife Virginia Vasselli while he was in Rome in the 1820s and married her in 1828. They had three children, none of whom survived. His parents died in the mid 1830s. A year after his parents’ death, his wife succumbed to a cholera epidemic. Donizetti himself suffered from cerebro-spinal syphilis. Symptoms of his illness became evident as early as 1843; by 1845 his condition deteriorated to the point that he was institutionalized for almost a year and a half. His friend from Vienna, Baron Lannoy, interceded with Donizetti’s nephew to have the composer moved to a Paris apartment where he could be cared for and receive visitors. Verdi came to see him there and was deeply saddened by his colleague’s condition. Friends in Bergamo finally arranged for Donizetti to be brought back to his home town, where he stayed at Baroness Scotti’s palace until his death in 1848.

Donizetti was reputed to have great facility and could compose very quickly. His favorite librettist was Salvadore Cammarano, with whom he first collaborated on Lucia di Lammermoor. Donizetti often assisted in writing the librettos for his operas. He completed 65 operas during his career; L’elisir d’amore, Don Pasquale, and Lucia di Lammermoor are generally considered the outstanding examples of his work. His compositional style proved influential for future Italian opera composers, most notably Verdi.

From Arizona Opera Virtual Opera House



Christopher Allen

The recipient of The 2017 Sir Georg Solti Conducting  Award, Christopher Allen has been featured in Opera News as “one of the fastest-rising podium stars in North America.” His conducting career was launched when he received the Bruno Walter Conducting Award and Memorial Career Grant, and fostered by Plácido Domingo and James Conlon, who brought him to Los Angeles Opera as an Associate Conductor.

Named The John L. Magro Resident Conductor for Cincinnati Opera, Christopher Allen returned in the summer of 2017 to conduct Barrie Kosky’s production of Die Zauberflöte. He has previously been seen conducting the new production of Tosca, the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star and, for three seasons, the Cincinnati Opera’s Washington Park Concert leading the Cincinnati Symphony. In the 2016-2017 season, Mo. Allen made his Washington National Opera debut in Donizetti’s La fille du regiment and Florida Grand Opera debut in Cuban-American composer Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls. He was seen at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas and debuted at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in the new revised version of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Grapes of Wrath. Mo. Allen also made his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra debut conducting a program of Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Beethoven. In the 2017-18 season, Mo. Allen will return to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to conduct a new production of La traviata directed by acclaimed soprano Patricia Racette. He will also conduct the North Carolina premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain at North Carolina Opera and debut at The Atlanta Opera conducting La fille du regiment. Mo. Allen will lead Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Aspen Music Festival in the summer of 2018, and he will serve as music director of the Bel Canto Trio’s 70th anniversary tour, featuring today’s internationally acclaimed rising opera stars in the program originally toured by Mario Lanza, George London, and Frances Yeend.

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Recently, Christopher Allen made his UK debut conducting The Barber of Seville at the English National Opera and debuted at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in a production of L’elisir d’amore directed by James Robinson. He was nominated as a finalist for 2015 International Opera Awards in London in the “Newcomer” category, and was named Musical America Artist of the Month in July 2015. Mo. Allen made his Los Angeles Opera conducting debut in Patrick Morganelli’s Hercules vs. Vampires. He also returned to the company as Associate Conductor in La traviata with Plácido Domingo as Germont, and was in charge of musical preparation for The Ghosts of Versailles, which won a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. He made his debut with Opera Santa Barbara in Rigoletto and returned to Intermountain Opera in Bozeman, MT to conduct a double-bill of Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica, as well as Don Giovanni. Mo. Allen made his Asian debut conducting Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Daegu Opera House. He prepared I due Foscari for Theater an der Wien assisting James Conlon with Plácido Domingo as Francesco Foscari and was the associate conductor to James  Conlon on Lucia di Lamermoor, Falstaff, and the Britten Centennial Concerts at LA Opera. He returned to the Atlanta Symphony to assist Robert Spano on Britten’s War Requiem, as well as preparing a world premiere with Spano at the Ojai Music Festival. Other past assignments at LA Opera include productions of Don GiovanniTosca, Carmen, The Rape of Lucretia, Holdridge’s Dolce Rosa, and Madama Butterfly. Since 2011, Christopher Allen has maintained a close relationship with the Atlanta Symphony working with Music Director Robert Spano and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles. He was on the music staff of Cincinnati Opera as an assistant conductor to Carlo Rizzi in Aida, Joana Carneriero in John Adams’ A Flowering Tree, Bernard Labadie in Die Zauberflöte, Carlo Montonaro in La traviata and Edwin Outwater in Astor Piazolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires. He made his debut at the Intermountain Opera Bozeman in Montana conducting La traviata. Christopher Allen has been a recipient of numerous piano awards which have led to debuts in venues such as Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Juilliard School and the Tenri Cultural Institute. While a student at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, his production of Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw was awarded a National Opera Association prize. He was also the recipient of a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award.



E. Loren Meeker

Loren Meeker is a stage director whose work has been seen at leading companies across the United States, Argentina, and Singapore. She is a diverse artist with a background in dance and theatre that allows her to bring a unique vision to her work.

As a director Loren has received critical acclaim for recent productions of Carmen at Washington National Opera and Lucia di Lammermoor at New Orleans Opera. Tim Smith, of Opera News wrote “There was nothing routine about the production of Carmen at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Attractively cast, fluently directed by E. Loren Meeker and incisively conducted by Evan Rogister, the venture crackled with energy from the top of the Prelude to Act I.” Theodore P. Mahne of the Times-Picayune titled his review of Lucia, “’Lucia di Lammermoor’ more than a mad scene in director’s strong vision”. He went on to say, “Meeker’s concept behind this weekend’s production is to transfer Sir Walter Scott’s Scottish tale from the late 16th-century House of Stuart to the period roughly of ‘Downton Abbey’: Edwardian Britain. The result is both a theatrical and musical success, a production filled with vitality.”

Recent honors and awards were plentiful in 2015. They include “Best Opera of 2015” from the Gambit Awards in New Orleans for her production of Die Fledermaus. DC Metro Theater Arts named her production of Carmen for the Washington National Opera one of the “Best Operas of 2015”. Lakmè for Rutgers University was awarded first prize in Division IV of the 2015 Opera Production Competition sponsored by the National Opera Association. Her production of Cendrillon for the Boston University Opera Institute is also currently nominated for 6 “Best Of” ArtsImpluse Theatre Awards. Categories include: Best Opera, Best University Production, Best Ensemble in an Opera, Best Student Actress, Best Costume Design, and Best Music Direction.

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​Other recent directing credits include La bohème (The Glimmerglass Festival, San Diego Opera), Amleto (OperaDelaware), Show Boat and Manon (The Dallas Opera), DieFledermaus (Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, New Orleans Opera), Manon Lescaut (Singapore Lyric Opera), Manon (Teatro Colón), Madama Butterfly (Opera North Carolina), Carmen and L’elisir d’amore (Finger Lakes Opera), and Cendrillon and Vinkensport, or the Finch Opera (Boston University Opera Institute). In addition to her work with standard repertoire, Loren has directed five world premieres for Houston Grand Opera (HGOco) and is looking forward to staging more new works in the near future.

Loren has been on the directing staff at some of the most prestigious opera companies in the nation including Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Central City Opera where she was the 2006 recipient of the John Moriarty Award.These opportunities have allowed her to work with many distinguished directors who have greatly influenced her career such as David McVicar and Francesca Zambello.

While in residence at Central City Opera she was able to lend her talents as a movement teacher and choreographer. Her work as a choreographer has also been seen at Glimmerglass Opera (Orpheus in the Underworld), Houston Grand Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni), and Opera Boston (La Vie Parisienne).

Loren has many exciting opportunities on the horizon. She will direct the world premiere of Jason and the Argonauts for Lyric Opera of Chicago (Lyric Unlimited) this summer, after which she will continue her collaboration with Francesca Zambello on a new production of Aida for San Francisco Opera. Loren wraps up 2016 and ushers in 2017 with her European debut by directing two productions of Candide in France: first at the Toulouse Métropole, Théâtre du Capitole and then at the Opera National de Bordeaux. Once she returns to the United States she will create new productions of Faust for New Orleans Opera and Il barbiere di Siviglia for Opera San Antonio.

Loren began her training at a young age developing skills as a dancer and gymnast. Later she combined her talents in these disciplines with her love for acting and singing. She attended Boston University where she received a BFA, summa cum laude, in Theatre Studies (focus in directing and choreography). After graduating she began to apply her diverse background to opera.