New-to-Chicago Production The Pearl Fishers (Les pêcheurs de perles)

By Georges Bizet

  • Language - Sung in French with projected English translations
  • Running Time - 2 hours, 25 minutes with 1 intermission

For sheer transcendent beauty, Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers has few rivals in the entire repertoire. The opera’s famed duet for tenor and baritone is a soaring melody that has turned countless opera newcomers into ecstatic fans. Bizet (who composed this work 12 years before Carmen) transports us to Ceylon, where two devoted friends find themselves in love with the same woman, an entrancingly beautiful priestess, Leïla. From its leading men and leading lady, The Pearl Fishers demands the ultimate in vocal beauty and elegance to do justice to this sweepingly romantic drama.

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This production of The Pearl Fishers was presented at Lyric November 19 – December 10, 2017. View our calendar to see what's currently on stage.

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The Pearl Fishers

by Georges Bizet

EMI recording — Cotrubas, Vanzo, Sarabia, cond. Prêtre.

“Au fond du temple saint”
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“Je crois entendre encore”
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“Me voilà seule…Comme autrefois”
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The Pearl Fishers

by Georges Bizet

commentary by Sir Andrew Davis in collaboration with Jack Zimmerman
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The Pearl Fishers Synopsis

This story of love, betrayal, and sacrifice centers around two friends, Nadir and Zurga, who have vowed to never let the love of a woman come between them. However, when a beautiful priestess arrives their vows are put to the test and each man must make his choice. Enjoy lush music and lively dance in Lyric’s production of this captivating romance that tests the bonds of friendship. 

TIME and PLACE: 19th-century Ceylon.

Program Book

Go inside this production of The Pearl Fishers with engaging articles, notes from the director, a complete plot synopsis, artist bios, and more.

View Digital Program Book

Meet The Artists

Marina Rebeka


Matthew Polenzani†


Mariusz Kwiecień


Andrea Silvestrelli


Sir Andrew Davis


Andrew Sinclair


Zandra Rhodes*

Set & Costume Designer

Ron Vodicka*

Lighting Designer

Michael Black

Chorus Master

John Malashock


* Lyric Opera debut
† Ryan Opera Center alumnus
‡ Current Member, Ryan Opera Center

Production Sponsors

With additional support from an Anonymous Donor
Matthew Polenzani's appearance is generously sponsored by Patricia A. Kenney and Gregory J. O'Leary.
Production owned by San Diego Opera.

Photo: Todd Rosenberg