Georges Bizet has long been a victim of his own success. Posthumous success, that is, because his greatest opera, Carmen, was famously a flop at its premiere just three months before his death in 1875. But there is much more to him operatically. In addition to his popular Les Pêcheurs de perles, there are six other operas. Bizet was just 18 when he composed Le Docteur Miracle, and if it unsurprisingly lacks musical originality it is nevertheless a little gem, almost resembling a foreshortened amalgam of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Donizetti’s L’elisir d’Amore. Indeed, at every turn, Le Docteur Miracle shows how remarkably well the young composer had already mastered comic style.
Bizet was nearing the end of his student career – soon to be capped by winning the Prix de Rome – when he entered a comic-opera competition organised by Offenbach in 1856. A distinguished jury whittled down the 78 entrants to six finalists, each of whom was given the same libretto (by Leon Battu and Ludovic Halévy, based on the Richard Brinsley Sheridan farce St Patrick’s Day), and eventually, Bizet and Charles Lecocq were declared joint winners of the first prize. Successful performances followed at Offenbach’s theatre, the Bouffes-Parisiens, before Le Docteur Miracle disappeared for almost a century.
Where Le Docteur Miracle is surely unique is in boasting an amusing ‘omelette quartet’, in which Bizet enjoys playing with the rhythms of the words ‘Voici l'omelette’ and which features mock-heroic invocations to a poorly cooked omelette that both tastes and smells horrible. In best comic tradition, the ‘servant’ – actually the disguised suitor of the mayor’s daughter, Laurette – who made the omelette is sent off, and gets his revenge by announcing that the omelette was poisoned and that the only person with a cure is a certain…Dr Miracle.
cast and creatives
Further announcements coming soon!
Clayton Whites Hotel | TICKETS €30
Wednesday 23 October | 3.30 p.m.
Saturday 26 October | 3.30 p.m.
Thursday 31 October | 3.30 p.m.
About Wexford Opera Festival
Since the first ‘Festival of Music and the Arts’ took place in October 1951, Wexford Festival Opera has grown into one of the world’s leading opera festivals. In 2017 Wexford Festival Opera won Best Opera Festival in the World at the 2017 International Opera Awards.
Right from the beginning, the Festival made a name for itself by introducing audiences to unjustly neglected works, many of which have since found a place in the canon. For 68 years the Festival has breathed new life into forgotten masterpieces, establishing a reputation for high-quality productions that, every year, bring thousands of opera-lovers flocking to Wexford from all over the world.