A long time ago, the friend who introduced me to opera gave me some very sage advice. He said, “Never let anyone tell you what to like”. That advice has served me well over the years, and particularly well in the case of Les pecheurs de perles. To many, Bizet’s lesser known masterpiece has taken on the unfortunate reputation of being a “one aria opera”. This is as unfair as it is untrue.
Admittedly, the famous duet Au Fond du Temple Saint is regarded as the principal aria in this opera and does frequently present its haunting melody throughout the proceedings as a motif. However, for my money, the more subtle Je Crois Entendre Encore is the winner, both for its tender melody and its lyrical poetry. I have long been a person who believes that great music can, if not should, be simple, graceful and humble. As for the balance of the score, there are many opportunities for a well-trained coloratura, not the least of which is Leila’s powerful O Dieu Brahma at the close of Act I, assisted by a lovely chorale arrangement.
In discussing the score for this production, Conductor Giandrea Noseda remarks that his first perusal of the music reminded him of “fishing for pearls” and, in the end, he decided that the Pearl Fishers was “masterly written”. I could not agree more. I often sooth myself to sleep by playing my favorite recording of it - the 1989 record starring Barbara Hendricks, John Aler and Gino Quilico, conducted by Michel Plasson. Having heard this opera dozens of times, I can tell you that its deceptively simple melodies will eventually give way to great intricate beauty if given half the chance. This production proffers singers and a treatment that easily rivals the 1989 recording. Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecien may not be household names, but they do understand that this is a great opera and perform it in kind. This production also includes one of the most beautiful stagings of an overture that I have ever witnessed. See and hear it for yourself, you won’t be sorry. Heartily recommended.
- Format: Classical, Color, NTSC
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
- Region: All Regions
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: Warner Music Group Germany Holding GmbH / Hamburg
- DVD Release Date: 24 Feb 2017
- Run Time: 90 minutes
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- ASIN: B01MXE4EVV
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
8,272 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #6134 in Movies (Movies & TV)