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At the Teatro Massimo in Palermo Les Pêcheurs de perles, Bizet's exotic and refined youthful masterpiece
Glowing with colours, the staging of the Opéra National du Capitole de Toulouse is a dive into the fascinating Orient evoked by the composer, among starry nights, palm trees and Indian divinities

Teatro Massimo Foundation of Palermo Presents

“ Season 2023 – 24 | Operas and ballets”
A rare title, with an exotic and seductive charm, embellishes the billboard of Massimo Theater of Palermo, that from 14 to 21 April 2024 presents Les Pêcheurs de perles, the first true masterpiece of Georges Bizet. The highly refined youthful endeavor of the French composer was very successful at the Massimo in the decades 1940 - 60, then falling into long oblivion.

The opera now re-emerges from silence, returning to the Palermo scenes in the glittering staging of theOpéra National du Capitole de Toulouse, with the imaginative direction and choreography of Thomas Lebrun (taken and adapted from Angelo Smimmo), the scenes of Antoine Fontaine, the costumes of David Belugou and the lights of Patrick Méeüs.

The musical guide is entrusted to Gabriel Iron, who returns to the podium ofOrchestra of the Teatro Massimo of which he is Honorary Director, while the Choir is educated by Salvatore Punturo; also on stage Corps de Ballet of the Foundation, directed by Jean-Sébastien Colau.

He stands out in the cast Dmitri Korchak, who returns to Palermo after the success achieved last April in the role of Pollione. The Russian tenor, a great protagonist on many prestigious international stages, will play the pearl diver Nadir, a part that requires a sweetness of timbre and exceptional control of the wind instruments, and which finds in him an ideal interpreter after the great names of the past. In the performances on 16 and 19 April the role will be played by Matteo Falcier. In the guise of the priestess Leïla, the soprano from Palermo Federica Guida, who returns to the Teatro Massimo after her recent success as Gilda in Rigoletto, while the role of the village chief Zurga is entrusted to the baritone Alessandro Luongo, also returning to Palermo after his success as Leporello in Don Giovanni directed by Muti. The bass completes the cast Ugo Guagliardo as the Brahmin priest Nourabad,

Les Pêcheurs de perles, opera lyric in three acts with libretto by Michel Carré is Eugene Cormon, is considered the first masterpiece of Georges Bizet. Written in 1863 by the composer who was not yet twenty-five years old, it is a highly refined work, supported by an orchestration technique mastered with great skill and elegance, studded with magnificent arias that highlight the author's melodic talent. The charm of the distant atmosphere is evoked with extreme vividness and richness of colors by Bizet's orchestral palette, varied and carefully crafted, and by the particular rhythms and harmonies of the composition.

The story of The pearl divers, set against the exotic and sensual backdrop of the island of Ceylon in the remote Indian Ocean, revolves around the love triangle formed by the pearl diver Nadir, the village chief Zurga, linked by a deep friendship, and the priestess Leïla, a virgin who has arrived on island to consecrate himself to Brahma and protect the fishermen from evil spirits with his prayers.

Both men are fascinated and attracted by the young woman, but when Nadir and Leïla fall in love the story becomes complicated: discovered by the Brahmin Nourabad, the two are condemned to death by Zurga, shocked by jealousy and pain for Nadir's betrayal, while the nature almost seems to mirror his inner turmoil with the raging of a violent storm. In the end it will be the feeling of friendship and loyalty that unties the knot - Zurga will in fact allow the two young people to escape, sacrificing himself and the village to which he will set fire to divert everyone's attention.

The fairytale setting imagined by Thomas Lebrun, shining with colours, responds with great empathy to Bizet's seductive music and hypnotic melodies, transporting the spectator to that fantastic Orient, so longed for in those decades of the nineteenth century, especially in France. Of intense visual impact, among bright traditional dresses, hairstyles embellished with pearls, golden fabrics that make up a mosaic of colours, the direction is also characterized by the spectacular nature of the staging in which even a storm and a fire are unleashed.
At the Teatro Massimo in Palermo Les Pêcheurs de perles, Bizet's exotic and refined youthful masterpiece


Director Gabriele Ferro

Direction and choreography Thomas Lebrun
filmed and adapted from Angelo Smimmo
Scenes Antoine Fontaine
Collaborating production designer Roland Fontaine
Costumes David Belugou
Lights Patrick Méeüs
shooting from Nolwenn Annic
Assistant to the choreography Valentina Golfieri

Characters and performers
Nadir Dmitri Korchak (14, 18, 21) /
Matteo Falcier (16, 19)
Leïla Federica Guida
Zurga Alessandro Luongo
Nourabad Ugo Guagliardo

Choir, Ballet and Orchestra of the Teatro Massimo of Palermo

Choir Master Salvatore Punturo
Director of the corps de ballet Jean-Sébastien Colau

Staging by the Opéra National du Capitole de Toulouse


Les pêcheurs de perles
Opéra lyrique in three acts

Music by Georges Bizet
Libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré

Absolute first performance
Paris, Théatre Lyrique, 30 November 1863


14 April 2024 at 8pm 'before'
performances 16, 18, 19 April at 6.30 pm
April 21st at 5.30pm

Who organizes

Teatro Massimo Foundation - PalermoThe Teatro Massimo of… more

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