On October 7, Angelenos experienced a rare treat. We opened George Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers – lesser known than his famous Carmen, but no less stunning for both opera aficionados and newbies. Critics have already been raving about the production, calling it “stunning” (LA Times), “enthralling” (Broadway World) and “eye-dazzling” (LA Daily News).
If the critics’ response isn’t enough, here’s a list of more reasons why The Pearl Fishers is a must-see this fall:
Nino Machaidze stars as Leïla.
Photo by Ken Howard
Nino Machaidze is one of the most exciting sopranos of her generation. Over the years, audiences in LA have seen her in six previous roles with us from Adina to The Elixir of Love to Mimi in La Boheme. She’s wowed audiences with her dramatic coloratura voice and her beautiful interpretations of classic roles.
Javier Camarena makes his LA Opera debut.
Javier Camarena is only the third singer (the others being Luciano Pavarotti and Juan Diego Flórez) in 70 years to give an encore at the Metropolitan Opera. He’s one of the best tenors out there and has sung in opera houses around the world. Now, he’s bringing his voice to Los Angeles for not only his house debut with us, but for his role debut as Nadir in The Pearl Fishers.
Penny Woolcock’s production is bold and beautiful.
Penny Woolcock in a rehearsal for The Pearl Fishers
Filmmaker Penny Woolcock, who directs The Pearl Fishers, worked with multiple designers to bring the opera to life. It’s a gorgeous production, full of color, life, stunning projections, and all the elements that make opera so grand.
Yes, that’s right. Flying. Or rather, swimming. We fooled many in our opening night performance, including some seasoned opera goers. At Plácido Domingo’s downbeat, you’ll be transported into the ocean while three swimmers — pearl fishers — dive for pearls. That’s not a projected film — it’s a carefully choreographed aerialist sequence. We won’t say any more so we won’t spoil the beautiful imagery. However, if you want to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the flying works, check out the video below.
It has opera’s greatest bromance.
There aren’t many operas that are about true friendships. The Pearl Fishers is one of them. While there is the classic love triangle, the heart of the opera is the friendship between Nadir and Zurga. At a young age, the two fall in love with Leïla, a priestess. Realizing they can never be with her, they vow not to pursue her in favor of their friendship. As you can imagine, this vow doesn’t hold. The opera explores their friendships through love, betrayal, forgiveness, and sacrifice. It’s wonderful to watch – even if a little heartbreaking at the end.
To learn more about and purchase tickets to The Pearl Fishers, click here.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.