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Russian soprano Ekaterina Siurina, the real life Mrs Castronovo, was a delightful Leila whose radiant voice soared across the hall in waves of rose petal loveliness. She was easy on the eyes, as well. Jose Gallisa, a bass from Brazil, portrayed Nourabad, a role he had also sung in San Diego Opera's 2004 production. He commanded the stage whenever he appeared and sang with burnished stentorian tones.

Charles Castronovo as Nadir in San Diego Opera's production of 'The Pearl Fishers'. Photo © 2008 Ken Howard
Charles Castronovo as Nadir in San Diego Opera's production of 'The Pearl Fishers'. Photo © 2008 Ken Howard

Conductor Karen Keltner is a French music specialist and she brought out all the romantic harmonies of this beautiful score while eliciting translucent playing from the San Diego Symphony. It is interesting to note that she also coached the French diction, which was excellent.

Malcolm MacKenzie as Zurga in San Diego Opera's production of 'The Pearl Fishers'. Photo © 2008 Ken Howard
Malcolm MacKenzie as Zurga in San Diego Opera's production of 'The Pearl Fishers'. Photo © 2008 Ken Howard

The energetic choreography by John Malashock was, in keeping with the piece, somewhat primitive. Dorothy Randall led the chorus, the members of which moved as individuals while singing their ensembles with precise harmonies. This performance had a magical effect on the audience and they applauded vociferously for at least five minutes at its end.

Copyright © 18 May 2008 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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SAN DIEGO OPERA

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