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June Anderson – “Je suis Titania” Philine’s Aria – “Mignon” (1866) II Act – Ambroise Thomas (1811 – 1896)

by Luca

June Anderson, Soprano – “Je suis Titania” Philine’s Aria – “Mignon” (1866) II Act – Ambroise Thomas (1811 – 1896).
LIVE at The Metropolitan Opera Gala 1991
Metropolitan Orchestra
M.° James Levine Conductor.

“With “Mignon” (premiered at the Opéra Comique in 1866), Thomas achieved his first great acclaim outside, as well as within, France. Goethe’s celebrated ‘Wilhelm Meister’ had provided inspiration for a highly sentimentalized libretto; Célestine-Marie Galli-Marié (1840–1905), it was said, “had modelled her conception of the part upon the well-known picture by Ary Scheffer”. Mignon was a success all over Europe, to audiences who had embraced Charles Gounod’s indirectly Goethe-inspired ‘Faust’ (1859); and in Paris ‘Mignon’ received more than a thousand performances by 1894, thereby becoming one of the most successful operas in French history. It’s still heard sometimes today, more often in the form of extracts for concert use, or in recordings, than in complete stagings. One of its arias, “Connais-tu le pays”, was for generations among the most famous operatic excerpts by any composer.”

“Despite his success in Paris with the French version, Thomas was asked to revise the work for the first performance at the Drury Lane Theatre in London on 5 July 1870. This version was given in Italian with recitatives (instead of spoken dialogue) and the role of Mignon, originally a mezzo-soprano role (performed by the famous Marie-Célestine Galli-Marié), was sung by a soprano (Christina Nilsson), and the role of Frédéric, originally a tenor (Bernard Voisy), was sung by a contralto (Zelia Trebelli-Bettini).”