In Disney’s Mulan, the 1998 animated film musical, the titular heroine disguises herself as a man just as an army of Huns approaches China and prepares to breach the Great Wall. Mulan is willing to risk her life to enlist in the Chinese army in place of her ailing father, a war veteran.
Mulan’s creators wanted her to be a different sort of Disney princess – clever, courageous, a bit rebellious. “She has to take charge of her fate,” according to a 1998 review on the Animation World Network’s (AWN) website.
You’ll likely be reminded of Mulan when you meet Marie, the strong and strong-willed heroine of The Daughter of the Regiment. Both women are expected to marry well. “Only by finding a suitable husband can she satisfy her family’s honor,” the AWN review of Mulan reads.
Similarly, Marie’s long-lost aunt insists she marry a member of the aristocracy. Even Marie’s adoptive dads – the entire army regiment – wants her to marry a certain kind of man: a soldier.
The Daughter of the Regiment is the most kid-friendly of any opera during the 2018/19 season. In a 2007 review of a Washington National Opera production of the classic, NPR said: “It’s a rollicking combination of esprit de corps, slapstick antics and innocent romance.”
For parents looking for a feminist heroine who doesn’t need a tiara to feel powerful, Marie may be just the thing.