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The Pearl Fishers on The Lyric Stage this Sunday October 3 at 8PM

After a first run of 18 performances at the Theatre Lyrique in Paris in 1863, good audience reception, but bad words from most critics, The Pearl Fishers was never performed again in the composer Georges Bizet’s lifetime. But from the late 19th century on, it has gained favor, and since then has been and still is performed with some frequency. In America alone in the last five years, fifteen companies have presented it, including productions in Detroit, Minnesota, Virginia, Cleveland, Nashville, Seattle and the first production in 100 years at the Metropolitan Opera on New Year's Eve 2015. If one just hears the music, that doesn’t seem enough. But The Pearl Fishers is one of those operas with wonderful music, music praised by Hector Berlioz when he first heard it in 1863, but music that serves what can be politely called a weak plot.

In a legendary Ceylon, two fisherman, Nadir and Zurga are caught in a love triangle when Leila, a mysterious woman from their past whom they both love, returns. Both men swear not to let their friendship - as expressed in "au Fond du Temple Sainte" - be ruined by this, but when Nadir and Leila are caught together, Zurga orders their death. Zurga later relents and sets a fire in the village to help their escape. He himself is then put to death by the High Priest Narabad.

But he the music is ravishing.