Theatre in Wales

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SCO adds another Pearl to its Oyster     

Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers is to be presented on its UK-wide tour by the acclaimed Swansea City Opera as part of their winter 2005/6 season following their highly successful touring seasons of Cosi fan Tutte in 2004 and The Barber of Seville in 2004/5 and is due to perform at the Swansea Grand on Friday, 7 November 05.
The Pearl Fishers is an exquisite combination of emotional turmoil and pervasive sadness, containing a ceaselessly seductive score with one of the most famous and beautiful operatic duets ever written for tenor and baritone - ‘Au Fond du Temple Saint’.

A fishing village in ancient Ceylon (Sri Lanka) is the setting for Bizet's steamy tale of a tautly woven friendship, loyalty and forbidden love. The brave fishermen, Zurga and Nadir, recall a pact they made not to pursue Leila, a woman for whom both had developed a deep affection. When a veiled virgin arrives to pray for the fisherman on their upcoming expedition, the real pearl remains hidden - her true identity. When Leila finally reveals herself, she pits the old friends against each other in a deadly love-triangle.

Born in Paris in 1838, George Bizet won early success as a composer and an exceptional pianist. The Pearl Fishers was Bizet’s second opera to reach the stage, but probably his sixth composition. Its austerity was deemed perplexing in Bizet’s lifetime and although the music was written as an opera comique with spoken dialogues, they were replaced by recitative shortly before the work was first performed at the Théâtre-Lyrique, Paris in 1863. After Bizet’s death in 1875, the score was changed again to offset severity with sentiment.

Of their new season Artistic Director Brendan Wheatley comments, “Since Swansea City Opera’s inception last year we have produced two acclaimed opera seasons that have helped us secure a high level of popularity and recognition with audiences across the UK.

“To build on the success of ‘Cosi fan Tutte’ and ‘The Barber of Seville’, we have decided to take on some slightly more challenging French repertoire - ‘The Pearl Fishers’ which we believe deserves recognition for more than just the famous duet! The arias are all fine pieces and the duets between are full of melody and drama. Add to this the evocative choruses and it all makes for a fine lyric opera that everyone can enjoy.”

This Swansea City Opera production promises a visual, dramatic spectacle with elegant, classical costumes and a torrent of passion, loyalty and tension that is sure to enthral audiences.

The Pearl Fishers scintillating vocal score is beautifully performed in French by some of the finest singers and orchestral players in the country.

Tickets for the event are available and can be purchased by contacting the box office on telephone 01792 475715.
 
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