Georges Bizet's 'The Pearl Fishers'

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Diana Damrau as Leila in Bizet's Les Pêcheurs de Perles. (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Tune in at 1pm on WQXR for the Metropolitan Opera's broadcast of Georges Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. Gianandrea Noseda is conducting. This broadcast of The Pearl Fishers (Les Pêcheurs de Perles) will showcase the first production of the opera at the Met for 100 years.

From the Metropolitan Opera's website: "Bizet’s gorgeous opera of lust and longing set in the Far East returns to the Met stage for the first time in 100 years. Soprano Diana Damrau stars as Leïla, the beautiful Hindu priestess pursued by rival pearl divers competing for her hand. Her suitors are tenor Matthew Polenzani and baritone Mariusz Kwiecien, who sing the lilting duet “Au fond du temple saint,” which opera fans know and adore."


Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda
Leïla: Diana Damrau
Nadir: Matthew Polenzani
Zurga: Mariusz Kwiecien
Nourabad: Nicolas Testé

Comments [10]

Saw it live last night and it was quite a treat. It's nice to hear the chorus used a lot, and all of the principals were in fine voice. Staging left a little bit to be desired, and the two "pauses" in Acts II and III were more like "waits"—obviously I didn't time them but they sure seemed long to me.


Jan. 28 2016 09:45 AM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

@DD: New York City opera did a Pearl Fishers years ago. Remember them?
City Opera gone like so many things gone.
Best wishes

Jan. 18 2016 07:04 AM

The historical nature of this production (hello, first time in 100 years) and the positive things I've read so far have made this my MET splurge of choice, so I'll be trundling over to Lincoln Center on the morning of Jan. 27 to buy a standing room ticket for the evening performance.


Jan. 18 2016 01:32 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

I thoroughly enjoyed this performance almost unreservedly. I prefer hearing the crash cymbals louder in the tutti passages. The five notes including the high C that end "Je crois..." aren't in the score: it ends on the same note the Romance started on, but it's a long-standing tradition I wish I knew the origin of. There was a four-bar instrumental cut in Number 4, the Act I Finale, that left me baffled. I also regret that Zurga and Le'i"la's duet in Act III was heavily cut as was the following choral dance: either a reason for or a victim of performing Act III after Act II with only a pause and no intermission. Mary Jo and Ira's comments were very informative and helpful. Apropos Mary Jo's comment about no one in the world-wide radio audience hearing the opera before, well, I have! I can't believe I'm the only one who has heard it and seen it many times via recordings, but never before in live performance, so this broadcast performance was a special treat.

Jan. 16 2016 04:38 PM
robert lombardo from Lavallette, NJ

bravi to Mo Noseda and the Met Chorus..a thoroughly enjoyable musical presentation on all levels. The 4 principals are well chosen...all in all a good deal for the public eventhough I was not impressed with the visual concept of the production which deprives it of the magical quality so needed... reminded me of 'On the Waterfront' none the less good to have the work so well done

Jan. 16 2016 03:42 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

@Uncle Charlie: You might be right but I am happy happy listening to this.
What has happened to Kenneth Lane and Cavanaugh. I hope they are well and have not gone to the great opera house.

Jan. 16 2016 02:07 PM

silly opera & sugary music with little drama and the cliched love triangle, but I'm listening for Mariuz and Matthew. Diana's voice makes my skin crawl, I'll skip her.

Jan. 16 2016 01:43 PM
thomas nawn from fredericksburg, virginia

my age is 77, i love the met heard my first opera on the radio probably a good fifty years ago milton cross was the announcer when he passed i mailed a small contribution to the met in his memory , and guess what happened, his niece sent me a personal note thanking me. well today we will hear the other bizet opera pear fishers thank you met and bless all the wonderful folks who make new york city the most exciting city in the world

Jan. 16 2016 12:32 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Looking forward to listening today and hope no one comes by to interfere with my listening. Some gorgeous music in this one. Of course, duet between baritone and tenor is one of the many highlights.
I have the recording with Bjoerling and Merrill and play it often enough to
lift my spirits.

Jan. 16 2016 07:35 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

There's so much to look forward to with this well-chosen cast of principals whose male timbres are distinct yet blend well. So much music that's memorable is descriptive of states of mind: the fidelity duet, Nadir's Romance, Le'i"las's entrance music and the Nadir-Le'i"la love duet, that it's easy to overlook the ferocity of the action music that ends Act II: Zurga's jealousy and the storm and, of course, the end of the opera. I think the former is the equal to the scene in "Carmen", years ahead, in which she provokes the fight in the cigarette factory. The orchestra score, like that of "Carmen", is one of clarity, ingenious instrumentation and directness. My mental picture of the sets and costumes will be that of a Palacio de Bellas Artes production in which 19th-Century Ceylon is represented that I think the composer and librettists would have approved of, without underwater fishermen and a surging sea. Many thanks to Diana Damrau whose initiative revived this opera at the Met.

Jan. 16 2016 04:31 AM

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