Bizet’s pearl fishers come to the surface for the first time in a century

A new staging of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers), which was last performed at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1916, opens on New Year’s Eve.

The little known opera tells the story of pearl divers competing for the affections of a beautiful Hindu priestess. It features the song Au fond du temple saint, a famous duet for male voices. Bizet is best known for Carmen, which is a staple of operatic canon.

 Les pecheurs de perles

Gianandrea Noseda will conduct the production, with direction by Penny Woolcock. The cast includes Diana Damrau as the priestess Leïla, Matthew Polenzani as Nadir, Mariusz Kwiecien as Zurga and Nicolas Testé as the high priest Nourabad. Dick Bird, Kevin Pollard and Jen Schriever designed the set, costumes and lighting respectively.

It is co-produced by English National Opera, who took Les Pêcheurs de Perles to the stage back in 2010. It received mixed reviews, with The Telegraph’s Rupert Christiansen awarding it three stars.

The January 16 matinee performance will be broadcast as part of the Met’s Live in HD series, which goes out to over 2,000 cinemas worldwide. Same day tickets will be on sale for the show itself in New York, with prices starting at USD25 (€23).