In spite of the fact that the French writers and composer never set foot on the island, as we are told in the opening prologue, The Pearl Fishers transports the audience to the South Asian shores of old Ceylon. The amazing sets by Vancouver Opera’s Scenic & Projection Designers Kimara Reddy and Scott Reid, along with Lighting Designer Sophie Teng create the atmosphere and ambience of a small fishing village. The Krystal Kiran choreographed dance team add authentic culture to the Frenchmen’s imagined setting, as they connect the scenes through dance.
Bizet’s lush orchestrations led by conductor Kamna Gupta welcomed the audience back to the theatre as the ensemble, of up to three dozen performers with the Vancouver Opera Chorus, take to the stage. Then directed by Rachel Peake, the cast, featuring the love-triangle of Aaron Blake as Nadir, Phillip Addis as Zurga and Miram Khalil as Leila took the audience along their story of love, friendship, suppressed feelings and care for each other, their people and positions. Lifelong friends Nadir and Zurga, the newly anointed king of the village, swore an oath to give up their love of the same women for the sake of their friendship. That is until, Leila, the woman in question, returns to the island. Now a priestess of Brahma, under the High Priest Nourabad, performed by Vartan Gabrielian, Leila returns to bless the Pearl Fishers on their catch. As they trio’s paths cross once again, their shared histories and feelings cause turmoil for each other and the whole village.
As our long dry summer as come to an end, take yourself back to the beach with Vancouver Opera’s The Pearl Fishers. The opera is told in 3 acts, with a pause between Acts 1 & 2, intermission between Acts 2 & 3, for a runtime of 2 hour 40 minute. Vancouver Opera plays two more performances this week, Thursday October 27th at 7:30pm and Sunday October 30th at 2pm. Full show details and tickets can be found at vancouveropera.ca