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Ensemble

An Exotic Atmosphere

Bizet's 'The Pearl Fishers' at San Diego Opera,
enjoyed by MARIA NOCKIN

 

Georges Bizet (1838-1875) is best known as the composer of Carmen which was premièred shortly before his untimely death. He won the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1857 with the cantata Clovis et Clotilde and the prize money enabled him to compose in the Italian city for three years. There, he wrote various types of musical pieces including the comic opera Don Procopio.

José Gallisa as Nourabad in San Diego Opera's production of 'The Pearl Fishers'. Photo © 2008 Ken Howard
José Gallisa as Nourabad in San Diego Opera's production of 'The Pearl Fishers'. Photo © 2008 Ken Howard

Upon returning to France, he began to investigate the possibility of having an opera staged in Paris. The Théâtre Lyrique had a grant that would enable it to stage a new work by a winner of the Rome prize. Its director, Leon Carvalho, asked Bizet and an experienced librettist named Eugène Cormon to write an opera with an exotic setting. The resulting opus was Les Pêcheurs de Perles. Originally the setting was to be Mexico, but it was eventually changed to Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka.

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Copyright © 18 May 2008 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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