By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer
With its silly, dated story line, it's all about the music in Donizetti's bubbly comic souffle, The Daughter of the Regiment.
Luckily, Cincinnati Opera found the perfect Marie in soprano Celena Shafer, who tackled Donizetti's famed vocal pyrotechnics without an ounce of fear in the season opener Thursday in Music Hall.
As Tonio, Ohio-born tenor Lawrence Brownlee was equally up to the task, tossing off nine high Cs in the showstopper, "Ah! mes amis."
The tale of Marie, who is adopted and raised by Napoleon's 21st Regiment, had an added twist in this production.
Cincinnati actress Dale Hodges made a memorable impression as the Duchess of Krakenthorp, exaggerating her role to the hilt.
The chorus, prepared by Henri Venanzi, sang and marched exuberantly. Christopher Larkin's conducting of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra was routine, though in excellent synch with the singers.
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