Post Cards from the Edge Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers - Florida Grand Opera, Arsht Center - February 28, 2015, 7:00 pm | Welcome to Fred’s Home Page

Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers - Florida Grand Opera, Arsht Center - February 28, 2015, 7:00 pm 


This was an excellent production by the Florida Grand Opera.  Although the story line is familiar and patterns itself after many operas, it had its moments.  This was my first viewing of The Pearl Fishers. Sydney Mancasola as Leïla was outstanding in a very difficult role to sing.  Her arias were spectacular.  Her duets with Corey McKern (Zurga) and Phillipe Talbot (Nadir) were also exceptional.  My only criticisms of the performance were the poor quality of the dancers and poor stage direction.  I can attribute the stage direction to opening night but the dancers were simply very bad.  Philippe Talbot has a beautiful tenor voice and he fit the role perfectly.  It didn’t hurt that he was from France singing a French opera.  Corey McKern had a good voice and it melded well with both Talbot and Mancasola, but the latter two were the absolute best.  I suspect you will be hearing a great deal more from all three over the years.

The story involves two childhood friends falling in love with the same woman. They become bitter enemies but are reunited and re-establish their friendship.  Zurga has just become chielf of the village and provides hospitality to Nadir.  Enter the woman veiled as a priestess.  She recognizes and is recognized by Nadir, her true love.  Upon penalty of death, they resume their affair and are caught.  Zurga, enraged, condems them to death.  

Of course, the woman was the one who saved Zurga as a child and he recognizes a necklace he gave her at the very last possible moment.  He then sets fire to the village to distract the execution and frees Leïla and Nadir only to be stabbed by the villagers as his punishment.

According to Wikipedia, Bizet wrote this when he was 25 and not yet established.  The opera received mixed reviews and Bizet never saw it receive the popularity it does today.  The original score, according to Wikipedia was lost and composers are trying to take the current music back to the original form  via research.

The image is from the Florida Grand Opera web site.

© Fred Searcy 2017