Opera Scotland

Doctor Miracle Le Docteur Miracle

Music

Georges Bizet (born Paris, 25 October 1838; died Le Bougival, nr Paris, 3 June 1875)

Text

Léon Battu and Ludovic Halévy.

Source

Farce St Patrick's Day (1775) by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816).

 

Premieres

First Performance: Paris (Bouffes-Parisiens), 9 April 1857.

First Performance in UK; Leeds (West Riding Opera Circle (1956/7)

First Performance in Scotland: tbc.

 

Background

Doctor Miracle was Bizet's first attempt at opera, composed when he was eighteen, and full of charming melody, as is his wonderful Symphony composed around the same time. It was one of two joint-winners of a competition for young composers sponsored by Offenbach (the other winner being Lecocq). It is a charming farce on a very intimate scale, that has never been performed by a full-scale professional company in Britain. However, it has been done occsionally by student groups and amateurs, as well as small-scale professional touring companies.

 

Characters

Le Podestat, the Magistrate of Padua (baritone)

Véronique, his wife (mezzo-soprano)

Laurette, their daughter (soprano)

Capitaine Silvio (tenor)

 

Plot Summary

The Magistrate has been doing everything he can to separate his daughter Laurette from her admirer Silvio. He is disturbed by a commotion outside, and assuming it is because of an intrusion by Silvio, he is relieved to find it is a touring 'quack' known as Doctor Miracle. The Doctor is duly chased away, and the Magistrate, having decided to employ protection for his daughter's virtue, hires one Pasquin, whose dislike of the soldiery should make him perfect for the job of discouraging Silvio.

In a classic comic scene, Pasquin shows off his culinary skills by preparing an omelette that turns out to taste and smell vile - the Magistrate alone is willing to eat it.  Pasquin then takes advantage of his master's absence when he and Véronique are out for a stroll - he breaks the news to a delighted Laurette that he is Silvio in disguise. Before they can elope, the parents return, and Silvio is again thrown out. News now comes that the omelette was poisoned. Only Dr Miracle can save the Magistrate, and he is duly summoned. But his demands are steep - Laurette's hand in exchange for saving the Magistrate. Once this is agreed, the final revelation occurs, since the doctor is also Silvio in disguise. Véronique persuades her husband to recognise when he is beaten.

The Cast

Capitaine Silvio
 
Laurette
 the Magistrate's daughter
Le Podestat
 Magistrate of Padua
Véronique
 the Magistrate's wife

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