This production resuscitates Gounod’s largely forgotten opera Mireille. A triumph for Marc Minkowski, conducting at the Opéra National de Paris, it attracted more than 1 million viewers when broadcast on TV!
In 1859, a young Provençal poet, Fredéric Mistral, wrote his masterpiece, Miréio, a vast epic love poem. Gounod, whose Faust was created that year, read Mireille shortly after publication and went to Saint-Rémy de Provence to meet Mistral. Gounod was charmed by the originality of the work, the story being much less contrived than many of those on the operatic stage at the time.
The opera has had a difficult career and was revised and altered several times. In 1939, Guy Ferrant and Henri Busser, disciples of Gounod, restored the five-act original and Mireille was finally restored from dancing on a fine midsummer's morning, to the gripping scene in the desert-like Crau region.
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