Until now, I knew Ambroise Thomas' Mignon only by name, but had never listened to it. Now after being introduced to it via this live performance, it has very pleasant music especially Connais-Tu Pays, even if some of it is a little too conventional, and does a skillful job giving the characters some identity but I much prefer Hamlet penned also by Thomas. This live performance is a reasonable enough introduction to the opera, but I'd hesitate in calling it perfect. The conducting shows signs of elegant lines and great musicality but also some very slow tempos and a lack of genuine rhythmic bite. Jean Phillippe Courtis has a rather crooning sound to his voice for my liking, he may have the case of realistic casting but that's not enough. Lucile Vignon is a sensitive Mignon with a rich voice, but she does occasionally sound matronly, her final ensemble high G sharps are a little too bright and for my tastes her rs sound too guttural(from experience singing in French is different to speaking it). However, the orchestral playing is really lush and pleasing on the ears bringing out some really gorgeous colours, making parts that suffer from too slow a tempo more interesting than they are, and it accommodates the principal singers very well. The chorus are well-balanced and animated. The sound quality captures the singing and playing strongly as well. Alain Gabriel, apart from some forced high notes, otherwise sings with a nuanced and rich sound, which is ideal for the role of Meister. Best of all is Annick Massis, whose colouratura is sharp and clean and her top register effortless and very musically shaped, she also captures Philine's spite very well. All in all, a reasonable but not great live performance, not bad an introduction to the opera. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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