Samuel Jean

Bizet: Le Docteur Miracle

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Georges Bizet's one-act operetta Le Docteur Miracle was a youthful work, composed for a competition held by Jacques Offenbach and premiered at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens in 1857, when the composer was only 18. This romantic comedy shows little of the Bizet to come in Les pêcheurs des perles and La jolie fille de Perth, and still less of the composer of L'Arlésienne and Carmen, though it has a light atmosphere and a jaunty tunefulness that make it quite similar to some of Offenbach's work at the time. This 2013 Timpani release by Samuel Jean and the Orchestre Lyrique de Région Avignon Provence may not bring about a true revival of the piece, but having this impeccable performance on disc will please Bizet fans and collectors of the label's exemplary series of neglected French works. The small cast is quite appealing and amusing, with Marie-Bénédicte Souquet as a charming Laurette, Isabelle Druet as Véronique, Pierre-Yves Pruvot as the mayor, and Jérôme Billy in the dual role of Silvio and Doctor Miracle. Their singing and acting are engaging and fun, though there are a few dry stretches of unaccompanied dialogue that remind one that this is an operetta, after all, and not an opera. The audio is excellent, with a credible sense of stage movement and presence, as well as a warm orchestral sound.

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