Painting a picture of paradise, of golden sands and colourful silks, State Opera of South Australia presents Michael Gow’s stunning Opera Conference production of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers at the Adelaide Festival Centre this May.
In colonial Ceylon two lifelong friends, Nadir and Zurga, swear never to let the love of a woman threaten their bond. However, when a mysterious young priestess, Léïla comes to bless the pearl fishers, Nadir recognises her as his long-lost love, whom Zurga also loves. Nadir must choose between the oath made to his friend, or the love of his life.
Directed by Michael Gow, with sets and costumes designed by Robert Kemp, The Pearlfishers feature an impressive line-up of Australian opera talents, including Desiree Frahn as Léïla, Andrew Goodwin as Nadir, Grant Doyle as Zurga and Pelham Andrews as Nourabad.
The Pearl Fishers is an opera in three acts by French composer Georges Bizet to a libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré. Struggling to get noticed as a young composer, the commission to write the opera arose from his standing as a former winner of the prestigious Prix de Rome. It was an exciting opportunity for the then 24-year-old, who saw the potential for a real success.
The Pearl Fishers premiered at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris on 30 September 1863. Despite a good reception by the public, the opera was not revived in Bizet’s lifetime, but from 1886 onwards, it was performed with some regularity in Europe and North America, and from the mid-20th century entered the repertoire of opera houses worldwide.
A story of love, jealousy and temptation, The Pearl Fishers features one of the most most famous numbers in western opera and celebrated rare male duet – the haunting, In the Depths of the Temple (Au fond du temple saint) – which many may recall was used in Peter Weir’s 1981 film Gallipoli.
Director: Michael Gow Conductor and Chorus Master: Graham Abbott Featuring: Pelham Andrews, Grant Doyle, Desiree Frahn, Andrew Goodwin, State Opera Chorus, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Set & Costume Designer: Robert Kemp Lighting Designer: Matthew Scott Assistant Director: Rachel Edwards French Language Coach: Christine Rothauser
The Pearl Fishers
Festival Theatre – Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Season: 12 – 19 May 2018
Information and Bookings: www.saopera.sa.gov.au
Image: The Pearl Fishers (supplied)