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Bizet: Le Docteur Miracle / Amaducci, Massard, Corazza, Eda-pierre

Release Date: 09/14/2010 
Label:  Opera D'oro   Catalog #: 7077   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Georges Bizet
Performer:  Christiane Eda-PierreLyliane GuittonRémy CorazzaRobert Massard
Conductor:  Bruno Amaducci
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Radio France Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 52 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BIZET Le Docteur Miracle Bruno Amaducci, cond; Christiane Eda-Pierre ( Laurette ); Rémy Corazza ( Pasquin/Captain Silvio/Docteur Miracle ); Robert Massard ( Mayor ); Lyliane Guitton ( Véronique ); Radio France O OPERA D’ORO 7077 (51:57 Text and Translation) Read more />

This Radio France broadcast has been available almost continually since it first appeared on LP back in 1982, as part of a Bizet triple-header on MRF 177. It has also been reviewed previously in the pages of Fanfare (28:1) by James Miller. I’d offer one correction to his remarks at that time: Le Docteur Miracle was not “good enough to win him the coveted Prix de Rome ,” because that required a far more high-minded piece displaying technical expertise. Bizet tried for it twice, first with his 1856 cantata David , which won second prize (no first was awarded that year), and again in 1857 with the cantata Clovis et Clotilde . It was the latter that won him the trip to Rome. Le Docteur Miracle , on the other hand—and this may account for the confusion—was the result of an entirely different competition, organized by Offenbach, with the winning opéra-comique to be performed on the stage of the Bouffes-Parisiens. Bizet and Lecocq tied for first place, each receiving 600 francs, and their works’ premieres on successive evenings. After a run of 11 performances the world lost interest in it, and Le Docteur Miracle ’s first revival took place in 1951; its publication, in 1962.

The libretto, derived at a considerable distance from a Sheridan play, reads very much like commedia dell’arte . Pasquin and Laurette love one another, while her father, the Mayor, takes exception to him. Disguised as a dull rustic, the young man gets hired as a servant by the Mayor, and serves the family an omelet. The Mayor mistakenly assumes the omelet was poisoned, leading to a consent for marriage on condition that a cure is provided. Everything is set right in the end, but not before the usual farcical complications.

As much can be said for the music of Le Docteur Miracle . Leaving aside the overture, ever so stylistically reminiscent of the Symphony in C Major (the popular one, not Roma , also in C Major, which Bizet offered up after receiving the Prix de Rome to impress the Conservatory), it is high-grade Offenbach: light, graceful, intimate, and as mocking of itself as it is of the world. The omelet trio is perhaps the best example of this, as well as furnishing a sense of just how idiomatically the 19-year-old Bizet wrote for both voices and strings. At the same time, the work forecasts with uncanny accuracy the more ironic moments in Carmen , such as the quintet of the smugglers and Gypsy girls, and Lieutenant Zuñiga’s ever-so-polite imprisonment. If Le Docteur Miracle sometimes buoys itself along on high spirits rather than its material, as in its finale, it more than makes up for it elsewhere.

The performances are fine. Rémy Corazza sounds fresh and lyrical. Robert Massard’s elegant baryton-Martin is expected; his excellent character turn is not. Christiane Eda-Pierre seems a bit off, the tone a bit acidic at times, but there’s no evidence of wear to the voice. Bruno Amaducci conducts suavely. Opera d’Oro provides decent background notes, and a bilingual libretto that furnishes the sung portions of the evening’s entertainment, though not the spoken ones. This makes matters even more confusing than in the original libretto, where froth was of course placed ahead of sense.

In short, if you don’t own Le Docteur Miracle , here’s a good opportunity to do so.

FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

Le Docteur Miracle by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Christiane Eda-Pierre (Soprano), Lyliane Guitton (Soprano), Rémy Corazza (Tenor),
Robert Massard (Baritone)
Conductor:  Bruno Amaducci
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Radio France Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; France 
Date of Recording: 03/01/1976 
Venue:  Paris 

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