La Fille du Tambour-Major

Title La Fille du Tambour-Major
(The Drum-Major’s Daughter)
Composer Jacques Offenbach (1819 – 1880)
Librettists Alfred Duru and Henri Chivot
Genre Opéra-bouffe, comic opera (three acts).
First performance Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques, Paris,
13 December, 1879.
Time of action Italy around 1800.
Place of action
  1. A convent-garden at Biella.
  2. The palace of duke Della Volta at Novara
  3. a. The Golden Lion, an inn in Milan
    b. A square in Milan.
Main parts Monthabor, drum-major baritone
Robert, lieutenant high baritone
Duke Della Volta comic tenor
Griolet, tailor lyric tenor
Stella soprano
Della Volta
Claudine, sutler mezzo-soprano
Prominence of chorus Very large.
Orchestra 2 flutes, 1 oboe, 2 clarinets, 1 bassoon,
2 French horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, kettle-drums, percussion, strings.
Special demands A sizeable men’s chorus is indispensable. A stage-band is needed in the final act.
Full score and orchestral parts Available.
Level Not difficult
Length 3 acts, about 2½ hours.
Music In this work Offenbach has expressed his loyalty to his adopted country: in manner and subject-matter it is a song of praise to France, a patriotic testament, full of typically French music. There are many ensembles, large choruses, an exhilarating ball-room scene, a fencing scene, a tarantella (danced and sung), a patriotic hymn (Le Chant du Départ), etc.
Story The story is amusing but complicated. A student at a convent school, Stella, falls in love with Robert, a young lieutenant, but her father, the duke Della Volta, has promised her hand to a feeble-minded old marquis. Stella, however, turns out to be a  French drum-major’s daughter, not the duke’s. Eventually Stella and Robert are happily united. This is the main plot, but there are a number of sub-plots, involving the duchess Della Volta, a sutler named Claudine, her uncle Clampas, a tailor named Griolet, etc.
Costumes Schoolgirls and nuns, soldiers and officers, ball-room guests. Italian towns’- and country-folk.
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