Les Pêcheurs de Perles

Opera San José's Les pêcheurs de perles

Opera-san-jose-pearl-fishers-callon-altman* Notes *
The Pearl Fishers (Act I with James Callon and Zachary Altman, photograph by P. Kirk) opened the 2012-2013 season at Opera San José over the weekend. Sunday's performance gave a compelling case for this opera, which is so much less popular than Bizet's Carmen. Maestro Anthony Quartuccio had the orchestra going at a neat, steady pace. The oboe solo in Act II was especially beautiful.

The chorus sounded spirited and robust, and were rather threatening in Acts II and III. Silas Elash is convincing as Nourabad. Melody King's Leïla has vigor, though not all her notes were perfectly in tune. James Callon (Nadir) also may have drifted slightly in his intonation, but sang well both with King and with Zachary Altman as Zurga. The duet between Callon and Altman, "Au fond du temple saint," was certainly a highlight of the afternoon.

The exotic-looking set, designed by Charlie Smith, seemed solid. Richard Harrell's direction involved much dancing from seven young people, who were quite amusing to watch.

* Tattling * 
The audience clapped after nearly all the arias and were generally pleased to be back at the California Theatre for a new season.

Lyric Opera's 2008-2009 Season

September 27- October 31 2008: Manon
October 6- November 4 2008: Les Pêcheurs de Perles
November 7-30 2008: Lulu
November 18- December 19 2008: Porgy and Bess
December 13 2008- January 29 2009: Madama Butterfly
January 19- February 28 2009: Tristan und Isolde
February 14- March 27 2009: Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci
March 2-28 2009: Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Lyric Opera of Chicago announced their 2008-2009 season this morning. Natalie Dessay will be singing Manon, Nathan Gunn will be Zurga in Les Pêcheurs de Perles, William Burden is Alwa in Lulu, Patricia Racette sings Butterfly, and Dolora Zajick stars in Cavalleria. The Tristan und Isolde production is the Hockney one from Los Angeles, which is being performed this season, and was at San Francisco last season. Deborah Voigt will be singing Isolde with Clifton Forbis as Tristan. Juha Uusitalo is having his Lyric Opera debut as Kurwenal. Francesca Zambello's production Porgy and Bess from Washington National Opera is also coming to San Francisco, and was performed in Los Angeles last year.

Press Release [PDF] | Lyric Opera Site

Opera Colorado's 2008-2009 Season

November 8-16 2008: Madama Butterfly
February 14-20 2008:
Les Pêcheurs de Perles
April 25- May 3 2009: Così fan Tutte

Opera Colorado opens next season with San Francisco Opera's production of Madama Butterfly. Former Adler and Sri Lankan American Sean Panikkar sings Nadir in Les Pêcheurs de Perles. This production is the San Diego one that has been making the rounds.

Press Release | Daily Camera Article

Washington National Opera's 2008-2009 Season

September 13- October 5 2008: La Traviata
September 20- October 7 2008: Les Pêcheurs de Perles
November 1-17 2008: Lucrezia Borgia
November 8-19 2008: Carmen
November 21- 22 2008: Petite Messe Solennelle
March 21- April 6 2009: Peter Grimes
May 2-17 2009: Siegfried
May 16- June 4 2009: Turandot

Renée Fleming has her WNO debut in Lucrezia Borgia. Denyce Graves sings the title role of Carmen, in the Zambello production from ROH. The Zandra Rhodes production of Les Pêcheurs de Perles is the one we had here in San Francisco in 2005.

Seattle Opera's 2008-2009 Season

August 2-23 2008: Aida
August 16 2008: International Wagner Competition
October 18- November 1 2008: Elektra
January 10-24 2009: Les Pêcheurs de Perles
February 21- March 7 2009: Bluebeard's Castle and Erwartung
May 2-16 2009: Le Nozze di Figaro

I may avoid Aida, as Andrea Gruber is in the title role, and her vibrato is overwhelming. I am not terribly fond of Les Pêcheurs de Perles, but William Burden will sing Nadir, so I might just go, considering it is also during the San Francisco Opera hiatus. I am most interested in hearing Bluebeard's Castle, as I missed this in Los Angeles. John Relyea is singing the title role in Seattle. Mariusz Kwiecien is singing the Count in Figaro, but the rest of the cast may not be up to his level.

Seattle PI Article


Pearl-fishers The joint San Diego Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre production of Les Pêcheurs de Perles might have been pleasant, despite its absurd Orientalist plot, unsynchronized dancing (courtesy of the San Francisco Ballet), and lurid set, but in the end it is Bizet who lets us down. One should not end one's opera by sending away the two lead singers, the tenor and soprano, leaving the mediocre baritone to mutter the few last lines. In this particular staging, the latter is loudly shot, but it hardly matters, there is no music to disturb.

Zandra Rhodes' stunningly bright set and costumes were amusing at best, and perhaps a bit hard on the eyes. Baritone William Dazeley was slightly reedy, but his duet with tenor Charles Castronovo in the first act was lovely. Soprano Norah Amsellem had a rich, full tone, she was definitely the best part of the whole show, and also doesn't look too bad in a sari, even one overwhelmingly yellow and pink.