Opéra-comique en 5 actes & 7 tableaux
Composer: Charles Gounod (1818–1893)
Libretto: Michel Carré, after Frédéric Mistral’s poem ‘Mirèio’ (1859)
First performance: Théâtre Lyrique, Paris, 19 March 1864
Revised version : Opéra-Comique (2e salle Favart), 10 November 1874, in 3 acts, with a tragic ending
SETTING: Arles and surroundings (Provence), mid-19th century
PLOT: Mireille is a young and beautiful Arlesian girl. Ourrias, a rich cowherd, asks for and receives her father Ramon’s permission to marry her. Mireille loves the poor basket-maker Vincent, and refuses Ourrias, despite her father’s threats. Ourrias attacks Vincent in the val d’Enfer, and leaves him dying. The old witch Taven brings him back to life. Ourrias, filled with remorse, sees the spectres of drowned girls arising from Rhône, and, trying to cross in a boat, is swept away by the currents. Mireille does not know what happened to Vincent; his sister Vincenette tells her what happened. Mireille and Vincent have a pact to meet at the church of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in case something should happen to either. Mireille crosses the barren plain of the Crau under a burning sun. She arrives at the church, but, suffering from a violent fever, dies in Vincent’s arms.
‘Mireille’ is Gounod’s third most popular opera, after ‘Faust’ (1859) [
No. 15 – Cantilène: ‘Heureux petit berger’
Mireille envies the simple life of the shepherd boy Andreloux.
Mireille (soprano): Andrée Esposito
Conductor: Jules Gressier
Orchestre Radio-Lyrique et Chœurs de la RTF