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Maine soprano delights in 'La Fille du Regiment'

By Christopher Hyde, Portland Press Herald, July 28, 2011

Ashley EmersonPORTopera has done it again -- presented a well-known opera that is staged, directed and sung at the highest professional level. In the case of Thursday night's performance of Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment" at Merrill Auditorium, it was also thoroughly enjoyable and engaging.

Maine soprano Ashley Emerson was delightful in the role of Marie, the orphan who is adopted by a regiment of the French army. She has a tremendous range and a pure, light tone that is ideal for the part. She is also a good actress. Her etiquette learning scene with the Marquise of Berkenfield, sung by mezzo soprano Judith Christin, was hilarious.

Speaking of hilarious, the aria sung by Ellen Chickering, soprano, as the Duchess of Krackenthorp, stole the show. Sung in English, I suspect it was largely improvised but written and performed by a master (or should that be mistress?).

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