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by Michel Carr

Genre: Operetta
Format of Original Source: Plot summary
Recommended Adaptation Length: 15 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely


The opera of “Mirella,” in France known as “Mireille,” is founded upon the “Mireio” of Mistral, the Provençal poet, and was originally written in five acts. Subsequently it was reduced to three acts and a waltz was added to the finale. Though one of the lighter of Gounod’s operas, and not very strong dramatically, it has great lyric beauty. The first scene opens in a mulberry grove. Mirella is rallied by the girls upon her love for Vincenzo, the basket-maker, and is also warned by Tavena, the fortune-teller, against yielding to her attachment, as she foresees that Raimondo, Mirella’s father, will never consent to the union. When she meets her lover, however, they renew their pledges and arrange, if their plans are thwarted, to meet at the Chapel of the Virgin.


A biographer of Gounod’s summarized the slight action of this story as follows:  “A rich young girl, a poor young man, an ill-fated love; and death of the young girl by sunstroke.”  He’s not far-off.  Nothing very interesting here, unless your goal is mockery of klunky opera stories, in which case…here’s a treasure trove.


A word of caution: This plot summary was written by 19th-century literary critic George Upton, who often mixes personal opinion with summation. You would be advised to consult the original source material, if the general plot appeals to you.


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