Court Gardens Farm

Orchard Lane Ditchling East Sussex BN6 8TH UK

Le Docteur Miracle
Georges Bizet

March 2014

I know that those who came will agree that Pop-up Opera excelled from the very start. Their first performance of Le Docteur Miracle in March not only introduced us to an opera few of us had heard of, but delighted us with their exuberance and magnificent singing. Unquestionably Bizet from the first note, the pianist single handedly (well actually she used both hands) kept the music flowing so well throughout the performance that you might forget there was not an actual orchestra. The humour of the captions, now perhaps a trade mark of the company, added to the sometimes madcap approach. Whilst the captions may originally have existed to just translate and inform, they now add a new dimension to the performance.

A comic operetta in one act by French composer Georges Bizet, with soprano, mezzo, tenor and baritone. The young man Silvio comes to the mayor’s house in various disguises in order to win the hand of his daughter, Laurette.

Aged eighteen, Bizet won a competition organised by Offenbach to write an operetta. It was to be based on a libretto which was a French adaptation of Sheridan’s St Patrick’s Day. The result was Le Docteur Miracle. This charming, lively, fizzing piece contains echoes of Rossini and gives us a foretaste of Bizet’s most famous opera Carmen, extracts of which were also served up as a delicious musical dessert, perfectly complimenting the French bistro feel.

The plot is simple, elements of which are familiar with better known operas such The Barber of Seville (young lovers thwart their elders’ attempts to keep them apart). There’s a link here to Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, and the forthcoming production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte in which disguise and ’medical miracles’ feature prominently for comic effect.

A rare chance to see this little gem! Comedy, tunes and madcap laughs galore. There’s even a quartet about an omelette…