Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Praise for The Pearl Fishers

Seattle Opera in The Pearl Fishers. Philip Newton photo
"Like magical poetry set to music." - Huffington Post 

"There wasn’t a static moment to be found: This was an opera constantly on the move, with one vividly presented scene after another." - The Seattle Times

"I wish I could choose my earworms, and if I could, one of my first would be a few bars from "Au fond du temple saint" in The Pearl Fishers. The simple melody, which repeats throughout the opera, does what Western music is meant to do. It quiets you, then it swells, and then it makes you want to stand up like something's lifting you, arising you. It makes you yearn for something beautiful, unsayable, and sad." - The Stranger

Anthony Kalil (Nadir) and Keith Phares (Zurga) in Seattle Opera's The Pearl Fishers. Philip Newton photo
"The shrewdest casting was Maureen McKay as Léïla, her soprano rich in timbre, with something worldly and knowing about it..." - Seattle Weekly

"The indisputable star of the evening was Brett Polegato, who dominated the stage whenever he appeared...More importantly, Polegato successfully conveyed the complex torment of the role – from powerful leader to unfulfilled lover to desperate friend, it was a pleasure to see a performance that transcended the stock love triangle cliché." - Bachtrack

"On Sunday, Keith Phares and Anthony Kalil took over as Zurga and Nadir, with Elizabeth Zharoff as Léila. This trio was completely different from the opening-night cast, yet they also found their own balance: Zharoff was a more powerful and focused Léila, Kalil a lighter and more lyrical Nadir, and Phares a strong, conflicted Zurga." - The Seattle Times

Dancers perform choreography by John Malashock in Seattle Opera's The Pearl Fishers. Philip Newton photo
"Much of the acting was illuminated by the choreography of John Malashock, whose dance sequences ran the gamut from ethereal beauty to threatening, murderous mob scenes. The dancers, pliant and primitive and highly athletic, used long sticks and bright airborne ribbons to marvelously expressive effect. The entire troupe was excellent, but the three principals — Kyle Bernbach, Roxanne Foster and Kyle Johnson — deserve an extra round of applause." - The Seattle Times

"John Tessier’s high, almost haute-contre tenor is ideal for Nadir’s Act 1 romance – combining an easy legato with a finely modulated voix mixte, this was by far the best performance I’ve heard of this killer aria. Tessier shows a strong command of the style, and his crystalline French was the finest in the cast." - Bachtrack

"The Pearl Fishers is a pleasure to both the eyes and to the ears. It's sexy, fun, and wonderfully whimsical – a riveting opera that will draw you in to this (tragic) love triangle with grace, ease, and storybook allure." - Heed the Hedonist

Elizabeth Zharoff (Léïla) and Keith Phares (Zurga) in Seattle Opera's The Pearl Fishers. Philip Newton photo
"But the real star of this production is set and costume designer Zandra Rhodes, whose zany, colorful fabrics created a magical atmosphere of sensuality and playfulness. The lighting designed by Ron Vodicka completed the visual beauty of the production and enhanced the dance sequences (splendidly choreographed by John Malashock). Two scenes in Act I were particularly stunning visually: the processional entrance of the veiled priestess Léïla, borne on a litter; and the preparation of her bed chamber - flower petals and pillows everywhere - by her attendants. Both of these scenes featured sets and costumes of brilliant orange and pink; the effect was pure enchantment." - Seattle Gay News 

"Then, of course, there is the glorious music. Conductor Emmanuel Joel-Hornak and the orchestra gave full rein to Bizet’s musical vision of this luminously exotic world, from the finest spun emotion to the most primally savage dance. The Seattle Opera Chorus was, as usual, spectacular, particularly singing in anger and terror during a violent storm." - Queen Anne News

Brett Polgato in Seattle Opera's The Pearl Fishers. Philip Newton photo