Bizet's The Pearl Fishers from Amsterdam

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Yes, Georges Bizet did write something besides Carmen. Hector Berlioz described The Pearl Fishers, Bizet's "other" opera, as "beautiful and expressive ... filled with fire and rich coloring."

This performance comes to us from one of music's truly legendary venues, the renowned Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, a hall that many feel has the world's finest acoustics. Tenor Charles Castronovo and baritone Jean-Francois Lapointe star as Nadir and Zurga, the troubled friends who join in the famous duet, with soprano Annick Massis as Leila, the woman who comes between them.

Cast:

Conductor: Michel Plasson

Leila: Annick Massis (soprano) 

Nadir: Charles Castronovo (tenor)

Zurga: Jean-Francois Lapointe (baritone)

Nourabad: Nicolas Testé (bass)

Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus

Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

This opera is a delight and more than the duly celebrated tenor and baritone duet "Au fond du temple saint", and the tenor aria "Ja crois entendre encore", recorded by many legendary singers. It also boasts a lightness of touch and colorful, evocative orchestraation, and all this from the then 24-year-old composer. In the old days, some of the dance music (or some of "L'Arlesienne"), was used when "Carmen" was staged with a ballet before its final act. The only published edition of the full score was in 1893 by Choudens; and there's no full score that survives from the 1863 premiere. All that survives from 1863 is a vocal score. This Amsterdam performance has a good cast and conductor and should reap handsome reward if heard.

Jan. 24 2013 03:55 AM

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