bizet's forgotten classic
Although an uncommon addition to many opera company's seasons throughout the world, The Pearl Fishers is by no means an operatic dud. In fact with its sweeping arias, beautiful setting in the ancient world of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), central themes of love and loyalty and featuring the wonderful duet about friendship, 'Au Fond du Temple Saint', it is a rare gem from the early career of Georges Bizet and is not to be missed by any fans, old or new.
a good old fashioned love triangle
On a beach in ancient Ceylon, lifelong friends Zurga and Nadir are reunited after nearly a year apart. The two pearl fishermen recount the event that first drove them apart - the fleeting glimpse of a priestess Leila, with whom both fell instantly in love. However, determined not to let their friendship go to waste, they had sworn never to quarrel over a woman again.
It's at this moment that a boat arrives on the shore, with a beautiful female temple girl sent to bless the fisherman before they set sail on their next treacherous journey. And it just so happens that the girl in question is Leila. As Nadir recogises her, his passions are inflamed once more and he sets about to pursue her, breaking the oath he swore with Zurga just moments before. Declaring his love for Leila results in an angry mob storming her temple. as they believe her to be descrecrated and resulting in their sentence to execution by funeral pyre. But will Zurga overcome his jealousy enough to save his friend and true love?