Josephine, the Child of the Regiment, or The Fortune of War

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Josephine, the Child of the Regiment, or The Fortune of War is a musical comedy, in two acts, by John Baldwin Buckstone (1802-1879)[1]

Also found with the titles Josephine, the Child of the Regiment ; The Child of the Regiment and The Daughter of the Regiment.

The original text

An adaptation from La Fille du Regiment[2] (La Figlia del Reggimento in the Italian version), an opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), with a French libretto by Jules Henry Vernoy de Saint-Georges, ‎Jean François Alfred Bayard. It was first performed in French on 11 February 1840 by the Paris Opéra-Comique at the Salle de la Bourse.

Buckstone is said to have based his work on the French version, but he may in fact have seen it in the English version at the Surrey Theatre, London, on 21 December, 1847. (The Italian version had been played at Her Majesty's Theatre, London, on 27 May, 1847). As Fitzball's English version of the storyline, called The Daughter of the Regiment, had already been performed in London in 1844, it is even possible that the rival play may have been Buckstone's initial source.

The Buckstone own play was first performed as Josephine, the Child of the Regiment at Theatre Royal, Haymarket and first published in London by Thomas Hailes Lacy in 1856.

Buckstone's Josephine was apparently - and somewhat confusingly - at times called The Daughter of the Regiment by some companies. (For example the production of The Daughter of the Regiment, which was played on August 19, 1872, by the Rotunda Vaudeville Company in Liverpool, and the one in South Africa during the 1880s, are both ascribed to Buckstone).

Translations and adaptations

W.S. Gilbert wrote a burlesque adaptation of the Donizetti opera, called La Vivandière, in 1867.

Performance history in South Africa

1860: Performed early in the year as The Child of the Regiment in the Cabinet Theatre, Cape Town, by the company brought together by Charles Fraser, with Annie Rowlands as one of the cast.

1885: The Daughter of the Regiment (ascribed to Buckstone) performed in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, during the course of the year, produced by Mr H.C. Sidney and partner Mr H.J. Fiedler.


Facsimile version of Lacy's 1856 text, The Internet Archive[3]

Leonard R.N. Ashley. 1983. "Buckstone, John Baldwin" in The Victorian Period: Excluding the Novel. Macmillan International Higher Education: pp.62-5[4]

The London Illustrated News, 9 March 1844, p. 155[5]

Gaetano Donizetti. Donizetti's Opera, "La Fille du Regiment", Italian and English texts, O. Ditson & Company, 1859 [6]

Facsimile version of the "Monthly Critic and Miscellany" (p.52) in The Court magazine and belle assemblée [afterw.] and monthly critic and the Lady's magazine and museum, (Volume 24), Google E-book[7]

R.J. Broadbent. 1969. Annals of the Liverpool Stage, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time. B. Blom: p.295 [8]

D.C. Boonzaier. 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 127-8, 381

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