Georges Bizet

Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers)


Operafantasy in two parts, in French with Hungarian surtitles
Performance by The St. Petersburg Chamber Opera

Events



This is the first production of a work by Georges Bizet to be staged by the Saint Petersburg Chamber Opera. However, it was not the world-renowned Carmen that director Yuri Alexandrov chose for the company’s first effort, but rather the less famous but equally brilliant Les pêcheurs de perles.  “The Pearl Fishers” was the first opera that the young composer was commissioned to write by the Théâtre Lyrique, the main theatre of the French capital in the middle of the 19th century. It took Bizet only a few months to write the work. After the premiere, Hector Berlioz wrote that the score of the opera "contains a lot of fine expressive moments, full of fire and rich colour". Les pêcheurs de perles fascinates the audience with its melodic richness and dramatic expressiveness. It is these properties of the musical score, as well as his passion for staging opera rarities, that attracted Alexandrov, who is known for his extraordinary interpretations of opera plots.
The St. Petersburg Chamber Opera, according to Yuri Alexandrov, will amaze the audience not only with the great performers of the main roles but also with colorful scenery and costumes. The fairy-tale and beautiful world of the East will appear in front of the audience. The action takes place in the underwater kingdom, in the jungle, in caves and even in heaven. Scenography belongs to Vyacheslav Okunev. Les pêcheurs de perles has several versions with fundamentally different endings. What kind of finale the St. Petersburg Chamber Opera offers – the audience will discover themselves.

With the support of the Government of Saint Petersburg.




For the first time for the judgment of the spectators Les pêcheurs de perles was presented in September 1863 in Paris' Théâtre-Lyrique. During the life of the composer, Les pêcheurs de perles had no admirers, as well as other operas of him. The exception was not even the pearl of the classical repertoire – Carmen, the failure of which the 37-year-old composer could not get over. And although after years of success came to Bizet, the 'evil fate' pursues the French composer until now. His operas, excluding Carmen, are not popular with directors. Les pêcheurs de perles is among them and considered as an extremely rare guest on the Russian stage.

The plot of the opera is rather simple. It is based on the story of the selfless love of young Nadir and the priestess of Leila, on the way to happiness which the supreme priest Nourabad and Zurga stand - the leader chosen by the pearl seekers and an old friend of Nadir. Being jealous of him to Leila, Zurga decides to betray both to be executed but after painful thinking gives life to a friend of his youth and Leila, in whom he recognized the girl saved his life many years ago.

In fact, in Les pêcheurs de perles the main thing is not the plot, but the melodic side. This music has become so popular that it is cited in the movies, performed in instrumental arrangements and sung even by rock musicians, like, for example, the famous Nadir's aria Je crois entendre encore performed by David Gilmour or the rare male duo for tenor and baritone 'Au fond du temple saint', not so long ago famous for the duo of Roberto Alagna and Bryn Terfel.

The St. Petersburg Chamber Opera, according to Yuri Alexandrov, will amaze the audience not only with the great performers of the main roles but also with colorful scenery and costumes. The fairy-tale and beautiful world of the East will appear in front of the audience. The action takes place in the underwater kingdom, in the jungle, in caves and even in heaven. Scenography belongs to Vyacheslav Okunev. Les pêcheurs de perles has several versions 

General cast

Conductor
Maxim Valkov
Nadir
Vladislav Mazankin
Leïla
Olesya Gordeeva
Zurga
Vladimir Tselebrovszkiy
Nourabad
Andrei Zemskov
Featuring
St. Petersburg Chamber Opera's Orchestra and Chorus

Credits

Librettist
Michel Carré / Eugène Cormon
Director
Yuri Alexandrov
Set and costume designer
Vyacheslav Okunev
Lighting designer
Irina Vtornikova
Video art
Mikhail Ushinin / Daniil Bakalin
Chorus director
Igor Pototskiy
Choreographer
Nadezhda Kalinina
Concertmaster
Yana Zubova
Assistant to the director
Darya Modzalevskaya / Natalia Chernikova / Tatyana Karpacheva

Premiere
Dec. 19, 2015

Events


Georges Bizet: Gyöngyhalászok I Les pêcheurs de perles