Miami performances are at the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami.
Fort Lauderdale performances are at the Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW 5th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale.
Children must be at least six years old to attend.
The Pearl Fishers
A beautiful priestess with a mysterious past is pursued by a fisherman who happens to be the best of friends with his rival in love. Honor, jealousy, and communal duty jeopardize the lovers’ burgeoning bond with the threat of death at dawn, but they are freed from their fate by the revelation of a long-buried secret. This simple but exotic love story is decorated with beautiful melodies, vivid nocturnes, rhythmic dances, and lusty choruses.
Sung in French with English and Spanish projected titles.
Photo © Rod Millington, Sarasota Opera
Some pearl fishers set up camp on a beach in Ceylon for their annual dive. They choose Zurga as their leader. The hunter Nadir arrives and agrees to join them. Zurga and he rekindle their friendship, which had been threatened some time earlier when both men fell in love with the same veiled woman. They had managed not to fight each other at that point by agreeing that neither should pursue the woman. Now, though, they feel that it is this “goddess” who brings them back together.
A veiled virgin, Leïla, is brought by the priest Nourabad. She is to stand alone on a rock above the beach to sing for the pearl fishers’ safety. Zurga reminds her that she is free to go; but if she stays and fails to remain veiled and pure, she will die. Nadir adds his warning to Zurga’s, and Leïla is startled to recognize him. She agrees to Zurga’s terms and heads off to the temple.
Nadir, stirred by the sound of Leïla’s voice, guiltily recalls that he broke his pledge to Zurga not to seek the veiled woman. In fact, he followed her and watched over her. He isn’t sure, now, that this woman is the one he loves because he has dreamed of her so often that he’s not sure he isn’t imagining her. When she starts to sing, though, he recognizes her voice and calls to her from the foot of the rock. She hears him and rejoices in singing for him.
As night falls, Nourabad tells Leïla that she may stop singing for the night. She is dismayed at being left alone on the rock, but he tells her she has nothing to fear as long as she remains true to her pledge of purity. She tells him that she knows how to keep a promise: As a child, she once saved a fugitive, hiding him from a mob even though she herself was threatened. The fugitive escaped after dark, but not before giving her a chain to remember him by.
Before daybreak, Nadir climbs to Leïla, circumventing the men who are guarding her. He declares his love, but she tells him he must leave because of her vow. However, she lets him know that her heart, once, was open to him, and that she was aware of him before as he watched and listened to her. Overcome by this revelation, he pledges to return the following night, and she pledges to wait for him. As a storm threatens, Leïla sends him away, but it is too late: Gun shots are heard, and Nourabad drags Nadir back under guard. The pearl fishers quickly threaten the lovers with death but are kept from attacking by Zurga, who claims it is his right to sentence them. He is inclined to be lenient until Nourabad tears away Leïla’s veil. When Zurga sees who she is, he wants revenge.
Zurga is overcome with remorse. Although upset at Nadir’s betrayal, he can’t bear the thought of being the instrument of death for his childhood friend and for the beautiful woman he has loved. Leïla comes to him to plead for Nadir’s life. The revelation that she loves Nadir and is willing to die for him awakens Zurga’s jealousy. Realizing that all is lost, Leïla asks a pearl fisher to deliver a necklace to her mother. After she is dragged off, Zurga, surprised, takes the necklace.
Nadir awaits daylight, the scheduled time of his execution. Nourabad brings Leïla, saying the time has come. However, Zurga points out that the light is not from the sun, but from a fire in camp. As the pearl fishers rush off to save what they can, Zurga releases Nadir and Leïla. He tells her that as she once saved his life, he is saving hers. Nadir and Leïla escape, leaving Zurga behind.
By Lucie Spieler