Georges Bizet was not yet 25 when the Opéra-Comique in Paris commissioned a new opera from him. In the span of a few short months, the young composer produced Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers), which premiered on September 30, 1863. Nearly 150 years later, the work returned to the Opéra-Comique! In Yoshi Oïda's splendid staging with Fabrice Kebour's bold lighting, soloists and dancers shine brightly in this early gem by the great Bizet.
Zurga and Nadir (played by the superb André Heyboer and Dmitry Korchak), two pearl fishers from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), glimpse and fall in love with the priestess Leïla (the inimitable Sonya Yoncheva), which nearly ruins their friendship. They mutually renounce Leila and vow to remain friends, but Nadir is unable to keep his vow, and Zurga, newly chosen as the village leader, orders his execution—but will he change his mind and allow Nadir and Leila to live in peace?