top of page

The Pearl Fishers

by Bizet


[This synopsis, like my others, is very, very brief. The reason is that I find the normal programme note much too long, and needlessly detailed and complicated. What I want is more of an overview. If I’ve read an overview – a sort of synopsis of a synopsis – I find that, particularly with the help of surtitles, there is then absolutely no need for a blow-by-blow description of the plot.]


The Pearl Fishers is set in Ceylon and is about the love of two men for the same woman, who happens to be a Hindu priestess with the task of saving the local villagers from the perils of the sea and its storms.


The two men are Zurga, the man the villagers have elected as their leader, and Nadir, who has been away but comes back. They have vowed to steer clear of the priestess, Leila, to protect their friendship, as described in the famous duet (Au fond du temple saint).


However, the High Priest Nourabad brings Leila to the village to pray in order to calm the demon spirits of the sea and protect the villagers. Zurga (not having recognized her) insists that she remain pure, for which she’ll get a beautiful pearl. Nadir does recognize her and they declare their love.


A storm breaks out and wrecks the village. Nourabad discovers the lovers in flagrante. They are condemned to death. The villagers blame them for the storm.


The couple are about to be executed, but Zurga relents. (He realizes that many years ago it was Leila who saved his life, as she still has the necklace that he gave her.) He – perhaps curiously - sets the village on fire to allow them to escape. He has to face the understandable wrath of the villagers.

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The Canterbury Tales

An aide-memoire This is to help me remember some, although not all, of the Canterbury Tales, having read some of them at school and also later, but then having completely forgotten them. Others may re

La Traviata

By Verdi [This synopsis, like my others, is very, very brief. The reason is that I find the normal programme note much too long, and needlessly detailed and complicated. What I want is more of an over

La Boheme

by Puccini It is a love story set in Paris and its Bohemian lifestyle (la vie de bohème). The story is very simple, particularly by the standards of opera. The main love story is between Rodolfo, a po

Commentaires


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page