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Gounod's Mireille received a long awaited revival at the Palais Garnier in Paris in 2010.
The title role is taken by Inva Mula, a soprano very much in the Freni tradition, who rises to the emotional demands of the role with ease and is a fine actress. She is ably matched by Charles Castronovo as a handsome Vincent, lyrical in expression, and authentically French in style. This is a highly recommended version of this work, and opera fans wishing to try something a little off the beaten track will find a great deal to enjoy here.
Read the synopsis in English here
Lire l’argument en français ici
Showing this opera about Provence to a critical group including several French people from the region who grew up with this music was particularly interesting. As one Jury member says in the Video Crits, “This music is part of our DNA.” Some of these people found it difficult to identify with a blonde and blue eyed Mireille, but for the Anglophones this was no problem at all as they had no preconceptions. Praise was almost unanimous for the singing and the straightforward, but very effective staging.
What the Jury liked about this production:
Très bonne réalisation traditionnelle, ne tombant pas dans le “kitch” ou l’artificiel des productions “carton pâte” du 19eme. L’effet du dernier acte est très réussi avec l’évocation d’un tableau de Millet.
I particularly enjoyed Acts 4 &5.Vincent was very good both as an actor and as an excellent singer.
J’ai beaucoup apprécié la mise en scène très champêtre, chaque scène aurait pu être le sujet d’un tableau peint en temps réel.
BRAVO! J’ai tout aimé. I liked everything!
Une bonne mise en scène dépouillé et suggestive. Une distribution crédible qui non seulement chantait bien mais qui jouait bien aussi.
The entire opera is masterfully produced: the staging, décor and colours put you right in the heart of Provence. The libretto is charmingly evocative and the singers just perfect, particularly Vincent who seems just made for the role!
Wonderful! - le plateau, les décors, la mise en scène, l’interprétation très abouti, la musique et les musiciens.
Simple, sensible staging — suited the music and story. Really surprised the opera is not better known — it deserves to be.
Très belle version, très beaux décors et belles voix.
The staging creates a fabulous atmosphere and the orchestral playing was particularly good.
What the Jury liked less:
Bien que performante, Mireille était peu crédible (blonde avec des yeux bleus).
Mireille appears to lose her voice a bit on one or two high notes — one of the risks, or perhaps the charms, of a live performance.
J’aurai préfére un Vincent avec une voix pleine de soleil.
Les 3 premiers actes auraient pu être joués dans des décors différentes et un peu plus mobile.
La scene de la Crau manquait de profondeur et d’espace infini.
Singing / performance: B+
HDVD production: A
Overall ranking: A-
Read what Hank MacFadyen says about this opera on his HDVDArts website here.
His comments include:
“This is probably the very best videography of a live performance that we have encountered so far in our 250 or so HDVD titles”.
The OperaDou Jury
The OperaDou Jury
© Agathe Poupeney