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  The Pearl Fishers at Lyric Opera

The Pearl Fishers

Lyric Opera
20 N. Wacker Drive Chicago

Bizet's captivating 1863 opera, The Pearl Fishers, is beloved by audiences everywhere for its score, which includes the most popular tenor-baritone duet in opera. The libretto and music conjure up a particularly exotic locale: ancient Ceylon, where the priestess Leïla is loved by both the fisherman Nadir and Zurga, king of the pearl fishers. The travails of this love triangle lead to disaster when Zurga believes himself betrayed by Leïla and Nadir.

Thru - Dec 10, 2017

Show Type: Opera

Box Office: 312-332-2244

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  The Pearl Fishers Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...The 52-person chorus, under chorus master Michael Black, brought a gravitas and anxiousness to each of the scenes in which the community gathered in fear, reverence and outrage. Bravo to them, and cheers for Bizet.'
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...This lavishly colored, cartoonlike production, designed by Zandra Rhodes, is a perfect fit for George Bizet’s 1863 fantasy opera The Pearl Fishers, with its very pretty music and piece-of-crap—er, ridiculously contrived—libretto."
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Deanna Isaacs

Chicago Stage Review - Highly Recommended

"...This opera is a welcome respite from current production design trends that seem to favor either stark, modern settings, or the grimy, mechanized complexity of steampunk environs. The Pearl Fishers is bright, beautiful, and engaging on many levels, not the least of which is Bizet's gloriously romantic music, brilliantly performed as always, by the marvelous Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus. As an alternative to predictably saccharine holiday fare, Lyric Opera's The Pearl Fishers is a sumptuous and exotic performance of singular beauty that leaves audiences not merely satisfied, but exhilarated by its creative vision."
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Lori Dana

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...For a living, pulsating definition of Romanticism, look no further than the 25-year-old Georges Bizet’s opera “The Pearl Fishers.” Worlds away from the verismo terrain of “Carmen,” which would cap Bizet’s brief life just 12 years later, “Les pêcheurs de perles” is an exotic love poem set in ancient Ceylon, its soaring lyricism consummated in one man’s ultimate sacrifice offered to another in the name of both love and friendship. The whole seductive package – remote enchantment, grand singing, evocative costumes, stylized sets – comes together in a splendid production at the Lyric Opera of Chicago."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...On the whole, this 13-year-old production continues to set a high bar for Bizet. Andrew Sinclair’s direction neatly captures the central conflict of the story, but his conception of the opera’s dance choreography seems misguided, aiming more for the “primitive” than the balletic. As realized by choreographer John Malashock, the result is rather absurd and awkward, detracting from an otherwise elegant production. Rhodes’ riotous designs channel the bright colors and broad brushstrokes of Matisse and Chagall in sets and costumes that remain contemporary and vibrant. Ron Vodicka’s lighting design offers the only use of blacklights this writer can remember having seen at Lyric, which is a striking choice for a pre-modern setting."
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Barnaby Hughes

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...In a small pearl fishing village, the people have just elected Zurga (Mariusz Kwiecień) to be their leader during an important religious ritual. Zurga’s friend, Nadir (Matthew Polenzani), has just returned after the two fought over a priestess they met in another city, but they have since reconciled. Unbeknown to them, the priestess hired for the present ritual, Leïla (Marina Rebeka), is the same one, but she is required to take a vow of chastity and to keep herself veiled upon pain of death. Leïla loves Nadir and they recognize each other, setting them up for conflict with Zurga as their friend and their king."
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Jacob Davis

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Go to hear the famous tenor/baritone duet–you know it even if you think you don’t–and stay for a fairytale of love gone awry. You’ll be too lifted out of yourself to quibble."
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Aaron Hunt

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Highly Recommended

"...Sophomore music, to be sure. Music still learning to find its own voice apart from its influences. (Here, primarily, Wagner and his orchestral texturing.) But sophomoric? No. “Au fond du temple saints,” the charged duet of testily renewed friendship between the male leads does indeed belong on a shortlist of greatest opera hits, and Kweiecień and Polenzani certainly give it everything. But let’s not forget “Je crois entendre encore,” Nadir’s aria of recollected love, which is not easily forgotten once its haunting high air floats through the ear. “Comme autrefois dans la nuit sombre,” Rebeka’s aching recounting of love in a shadow? It’s a treasure trove."
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Patrick O'Brien

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...For the last part of act three, events keep escalating. The background transitions from dark blue to intense red and orange, representing the fire set by Zurga. Nadir and beautiful Leila escape thanks to Zurga's actions. The stage is beautifully dressed up throughout the performance. The colors, the music, the amazing performance of the singers and of the orchestra make The Pearl Fishers a very attractive and fresh opera for any audience."
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Laura Buciuman

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