June 26, 2005
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.