- Christopher Smith
(b Maillane, Bouches-du-Rhône, Sept 8, 1830; d Maillane, March 25, 1914). Provençal poet and philologist . The son of a prosperous landowner, he devoted his life to the promotion of the cultural values of Provençal. His most famous work is the rural epic Mirèio (1859) which Michel Carré used as the basis for the libretto of the five-act opera (sometimes described as an ‘opéra-dialogué’) Mireille, set by Gounod. This was first performed in 1864 and subsequently remodelled. Calendau (1867) formed the basis of Henri Maréchal’s opera Calendel (libretto by Paul Ferrier), which had its première in Rouen in 1894. Maurice Léna’s libretto for C. M. Widor’s opera Nerto (1924, Paris) was derived from Mistral’s verse-tale of the same name. In 1904, half a century after the foundation of the pro-Provençal ‘félibrige’, the Nobel Prize for literature was awarded jointly to Mistral and the Spanish poet José Echegaray....