Composed 12 years before his much more famous opera Carmen, The Pearl Fishers by George Bizet is set in a mythical far eastern village in this production conceived as Ceylon now known as Sri Lanka. Starring the acclaimed soprano Diana Damrau as Leila, the virgin goddess who gives up her vow of chastity, she sings with the loveliest of voices the shimmering “Comme autrefois” solo in Act 1. Often considered the highlight of the opera the Act 1 duet between the tenors Mariusz Kwiecien as Zurga and Matthew Polenzani as Nadir was gorgeously sung followed by enthusiastic applause from the Met. audience. With gorgerus sets, evoking a fishing village in mythical Ceylon, the performance opens during the overture with pearl divers appearing to dive deep into the ocean emitting bubbles and then returning to the surface. The costumes of the simple fishing villagers as well as the goddess Leila all combine with the lovely musical score and gorgeous voices of soloists and chorus to bring Bizet’s lesser known but never the less, thrilling opera, to life.
I always enjoy my visits to the Met not only for the gorgeous musical performances but also for the spectacle of “Grand Opera.” I love people watching of what tends to be an older crowd with outfits varying from jeans ans sneakers to suits, ties and gowns and even the occasional tuxedo! The lights of Lincoln Center still with their Christmas Lighting are always a joy to behold on this my last night in “The Big Apple.”