Entertainment » Music

Bizet: Le Docteur Miracle

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Wednesday Aug 28, 2013
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Looking for a pleasant afternoon listen? "Le Docteur Miracle," an early operetta from Georges Bizet (1838-1875), is now available in this new release from Timpani Records, and the sound and performance quality of this soft-spoken, yet enjoyable work from the renowned composer of "Carmen" makes for an appropriate choice while relaxing and relishing a good weather day.

Written when he was only 18 years of age, Bizet’s score was chosen the winner of a one-act operetta competition formulated by composer Jacques Offenbach ("The Tales of Hoffmann"). Though the work tied for first place with the entry of another noted composer, Charles Lecocq, Bizet’s final product gives us intriguing insight into the still developing talents of a composer who would be lost at a much too early age.

The recording is easy on the ears, and an enjoyable single-sitting listen, clocking in at just under an hour. Conductor Samuel Jean guides the Orchestre Lyrique de Région Avignon Provence on his debut opera recording confidently through this lite tale of Le Podestat (the Counsellor, delightfully sung by Pierre-Yves Pruvot) and his second wife, Veronique (Isabelle Druet), who strive to prevent the suitor Captain Silvio (Jérôme Billy) from pursuing Le Podestat’s young daughter, Laurette (Marie-Bénédicte Souquet). Their romance is determined to be, however, and through various disguises, including the quirky valet Pasquin, Silvio is granted entry to the family’s home.

The spoken portions of the libretto are included on the CD, and they seamlessly help to understand the placement of the song cues, in addition to showing off the respectable acting skills of the four singers. The anchor of this recording is a ten-minute long quartet about the presentation and consumption of an omelet cooked by Pasquin for the family, in which he may or may not have poisoned the parents to help achieve his goal of being with Laurette. The four performers create an accessible performance of this operetta that is easy to digest, with no concerns of acid reflux.

"Le Docteur Miracle"
Georges Bizet
CD and digital formats
Timpani Records

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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