Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers)

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Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles

Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles


Pina Margarini (Leila), Alfredo Kraus (Nadir), Giuseppe Taddei (Zurga), Carlo Cava (Nourabad)

RAI Milano, Armando La Rosa Parodi

Opera dOro - OPD1232

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Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles

Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles


Desirée Rancatore (Léïla), Celso Albelo (Nadir), Luca Grassi (Zurga) & Alastair Miles (Nourabad)

Orchestra Filarmonica Salernitana ‘Giuseppe Verdi’ & Coro del Teatro dell’Opera di Salerno, Daniel Oren

Parisian composer Georges Bizet was enrolled in the Consevatoire at the age of nine and won a premier prix in solfège within six months of his arrival. He later received prizes for his skill as a pianist, gaining particular renown for his sight‐reading, and won the coveted Prix de Rome in 1857. At this time, opera theatres in Paris were reluctant to stage new works rather than the established classics, meaning that Bizet’s operas did not achieve much success during his lifetime, despite the fact that today two of his operas are considered among the best ever written.

The premiere of Les Pêcheurs de Perles took place in 1863 and the opera was brought back to Paris in 1889 at the Exposition Universelle of that year. The story, set in Ceylon (known today as Sri Lanka), centres on the love between the priestess Léïla and the fisherman Nadir, who is envied by his fellow fisherman and friend Zurga.

The idea of the ‘exotic’ is a prominent feature of the opera and can be heard in the unusual instruments of the percussion section, the dance rhythms, and the use of the harp. The qualities of the ‘exotic’ evoked here are more similar to those of the Mediterranean than of Ceylon, although it is known from Bizet’s letters that his original inspiration for the setting was Mexico. The opera contains the famous friendship duet, ‘Au fond du temple saint’, known as the Pearl Fishers’ Duet.

The recording features Desirée Rancatore and Celso Albelo in the roles of Léila and Nadir. Rancatore, a leading interpreter of the light, lyrical roles in Italian opera, debuted as Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro at the Salzburg Festival at just 19 years old. She has since won critical acclaim for her performances as Adina (L’elisir d’amour), Gilda (Rigoletto) and the Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute), all of which she has sung worldwide.

Tenor Celso Albelo has performed all over the world in operas such as Rigoletto, Lucia di Lammemoor and Falstaff, and was awarded the Opera National Prize (Spain) for Best Newcomer in 2008 for his performance in I Puritani.

Brilliant Classics Opera Collection - 94434

(CD - 2 discs)

$9.75

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Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles

Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles


Nicolai Gedda (Nadir), Janine Micheau (Leila), Ernest Blanc (Zurga), Jaques Mars (Nourabad)

Chœurs et Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra Comique, Pierre Dervaux

The mid-price collection presents some of the most important and admired recordings of the EMI Classics and Virgin Classics catalogue which make EMI - The Home of Opera.

Bonus Disc contains synopsis and libretto with translation.

“The second-act Serenade, “De mon amie fleur endormie”, arguably the score’s most subtle number, is beautifully sung by Gedda. Ernest Blanc, in the difficult role of the alternately jealous and forgiving Zurga, is in superb voice, showing a real understanding of the right style and of character.” Gramophone Magazine

“Dervaux's conducting is tidy and efficient...Gabriel Bacquier is a sonorous Zurga” International Record Review, January 2011

Warner Classics - The Opera Series - 6406782

(CD - 2 discs)

$15.50

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Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles

Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles

Sung in German


Rita Streich, Jean Löhe, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau & Wilhelm Lang

RIAS Symphony Orchestra, Artur Rother

Recorded 1950

Walhall - WLCD0179

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.25

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Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles

Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles


Annick Massis (soprano), Yasu Nakajima (tenor), Luca Grassi (baritone), Luigi De Donato (bass)

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro la Fenice di Venezia, Marcello Viotti

Les pêcheurs de perles dates from 1863 and represents much more than a mere operatic exercise written by a twenty-five-year-old composer. Pêcheurs is, as a matter of fact, the only other Bizet opera, beside Carmen, to have remained in the repertoire. This opera contains memorable passages, which have ensured its long-lasting success and which many great singers (beginning with Caruso) have recorded and performed: for example the aria of Nadir Je crois entendre encore; the beautiful aria of Léïla Comme autrefois, dans la nuit sombre and, above all, the superb duet between Léïla and Nadir Ton cour n’a pas compris le mien.

This Venetian production features an extraordinary Annick Massis as Léïla and the refined staging of Pier Luigi Pizzi.

Dynamic - CDS459

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Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles

Bizet: Les Pêcheurs de Perles


Martha Angelici, Michel Dens, Henri Legay, Louis Noguera

Paris Opera-Comique Chorus & Orchestra, Andre Cluytens

Warner Classics - 5652662

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