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Charles Gounod was enchanted by the young Provençal-born Frédéric Mistral’s epic love poem Mirèio, and enlisted the distinguished Michel Carré to fashion a libretto. Against the grain of prevailing operatic practice in the 1860s, and its promotion of glamour and spectacle, Gounod relished instead the lives of modest country people and their idyllic world. He utilises folk dances and a shepherd’s lament to chart the story of his tragic heroine whose desire to marry her true love
ends in her death. ‘Everything feels true to the opera’s pastoral spirit’ wrote Gramophone about this production, which marked the opera’s first appearance at the Paris Opera.