MIREILLE Barre de navigation


( Creation in the Théâtre -Lyrique, on March 19, 1864)

Situation : En Provence, au XIXe siècle.













Maître Ramon

première basse






première dugazon


maître Ambroise/un passeur

deuxième basse



deuxième dugazon


Act I. An enclosure of mulberry trees.
A group of young farmers picking mulberry leaves (introduction: " Chantez magnanarelles"). The kind witch Taven notices sadly that the girls will discover a day the punishments love. Clémence, one of the girls, retorts that it will not arrive to her because she will be taken, far from Provence, by a beautiful prince to live in a magnificent castle in a remote country. Another girl, Mireille, says calmly than she would be happy, if a young man declared simply his love for her in all sincerity. Her friends are not surprised by the modesty of her expectations, because she was seen recently, together with Vincent, the son of a poor basket maker, Ambroise. They tease her gently, because she's in love with such a humble boy. After the departure of her friends, Mireille confirms to Taven the reality of this rumor. Taven warns her that wealth and poverty match badly , but assures Mireille that she will help her at any time of distress. Vincent walks by, and Mireille starts talking with him. He describes his family, telling Mireille that she is even more attractive than his sister (duet: "Vincenette à votre âge "). Mireille is flattered by the comparison. She would like to linger on, but her friends call her to come and join them. Before leaving, Vincent and Mireille decide that, if misfortune had to strike one of them, the other one would make a pilgrimage to the Sainted Maries to ask for help through prayer.


Acte II. At the entrance of the Arles arenas.
A number of farmers have met to sing and dance a Provençal farandole . Mireille enters with her friends. When Vincent arrives to take part to the festivities, some of the participants ask them to sing a love song. Mireille and Vincent comply with a traditional Provençal song (Magalie's song: "La brise est douce et parfumée"). Then, the merry assembly dances another farandole and enters the arenas. Mireille stays behind, called by Taven, who warns her that it's the season of the year when she's going to be courted (song: " Voici la saison mignonne "). Innocently the girl believes she's not concerned because her heart is already taken. She sings her love for Vincent (air: "Trahir Vincent"). According to Taven's prediction, the bull trainer Ourrias sets eyes on Mireille. He greets her by promising that, when she becomes his wife, she will be treated a queen; he admits his love for her(stanzae: "Si les filles"). As he becomes too insistent for Mireille's taste , she leaves hastily. The father of Mireille, Ramon, leaves the arenas, and Ourrias complains to him that Mireille was not receptive. At this moment, also arrive Vincent and his father Ambroise. Ambroise announces to Ramon that Vincent is in love with a girl of a higher social standing, and asks him how he would handle the situation. Ramon answers that Vincent should forget her at once. If he resists, Ramon suggests a good beating, to which every father has to resolve in order to reason the members of his family (finale: " Un père parle en père "). Ramon adds that, in his house, nobody would dare challenge him. Mireille reappears, reveals that she is the one Vincent loves, and that this feeling is mutual. Ramon disavows her on the spot. He is about to strike Mireille, when she falls on her knees and implores his leniency and understanding. Furious, Ramon curses Vincent and his father, and swears that he won't let Mireille see again the young man. Mireille and Vincent sing that any attempt aiming to separate them is vain; Ambroise repeats Ramon's verbal insult. The assembled crowd regrets the cruelty of Ramon.


Acte III. Le val d'enfer. Near Taven's cave.
Ourrias and his friends return home together. They tell him to forget Mireille. But Ourrias asks them to go on without him, because he's still depressed by the way she rejected him, and decides to take revenge over Vincent (duet: " Ils s'éloignent"). Vincent arrives, also disturbed by the events at the end of the previous act. He is surprised by Ourrias, who accuses him of using witchcraft to obtain Mireille's love. This accusation angers Vincent, but Ourrias strikes ignominiously the defenseless young man with his trident. Taven, who heard the cries of the wounded Vincent, rushes outside the inn and curses Ourrias. The waters of the Rhone are lit by the full moon. Ourrias is eaten away by remorse, and is frightened(scene and choir: " Ah! Qu'ai-je fait? "). He hails the ferryman to cross to the other bank. Suddenly, white ghosts appear from the depths of the river. A distant bell rings midnight. The ghosts float on the surface of the water, and disappear in the fog. Ourrias jumps into the boat when it appears. As it leaves, the waters stir violently. The boatman reminds Vincent's fate to Ourrias. The boat sinks; Ourrias drowns himself.


Acte IV. The inside yard of Ramon's mas. It's midsummer night. Fires light the scene.
Ramon and his harvesters celebrate harvest (choir: " Après la moisson finie "). Mireille, discouraged, enters the house. After the departure of the harvesters, Ramon regrets that laws of nature sadden his unfortunate daughter. Mireille opens her window and remembers, dreaming, " Magalie's song ". The day dawns, and a herdsman appears, playing musette. Having sung a short song for the new day (song: " Le jour se lève "), he leaves. Mireille envies the happy existence he leads (ariette: "Heureux petit berger"). Vincenette rushes unexpectedly to Mireille to tell her what happened to Vincent (duet: "Ah! Parle encore!"). Although Vincenette assures Mireille that Taven has taken charge of Vincent, and that he is going to heal, Mireille decides to begin the precarious pilgrimage, through the desert of Crau, to les Saintes. She takes all her jewels to make an offering, and the two girls pray for Vincent.The desert of Crau. A vast area of rocky and dry ground. At midday.Mireille is exhausted and disorientated (air: "En marche"). She sees a mirage: A magnificent city at the edge of a lake. She collapses of despair when the mirage disappears. She hears the herdsman's musette, in the distance, comes to her senses and hits the road again.


Act V. Outside the chapel of the Saintes Maries.
Pilgrims walk across the stage and enter the chapel, calling upon divine protection (choir: " O vous, que du haut du ciel"). Vincent arrives and looks for Mireille; he prays for her to be safe (cavatina: " Anges du paradis "). Mireille appears, shaky, delirious, and ready to die. She falls in ecstasy when seeing Vincent, and has the vision of the sky opening to receive her. (finale: " Grand Dieu "). Ramon and the others rush. Mireille dies from sunstroke, but a heavenly voice announces that her soul is assured of an eternal happiness in Heaven.

haut de page


To write:

Sapho - La Nonne sanglante - Le médecin malgré lui - Faust - Philémon et Baucis - La colombe
La reine de Saba - Mireille - Roméo et Juliette - Cinq-Mars - Polyeucte - Le tribut de Zamora