Bizet is a firm favourite with opera fans and Carmen's great moments are instantly recognisable to almost everyone regardless of their love of opera. But Bizet's first full length opera was "The Pearl Fishers" some 10 years before Carmen. In this short video, Dorothy Withers looks at the history of "The Pearl Fishers", from its origins at the Theatre Lyrique in Paris, to its place in the mainstream operatic repertoire today.
During a recent visit to India I was on a mission to buy all the costume fabric for Heber’s upcoming production of ‘The Pearl Fishers’ at a fraction of the cost here in the UK.
A textile outlet in Jaipur was the first port of call for saris. The half-hour tuk-tuk ride to get there was the maddest I’ve ever experienced – crazy Indian driving in chaotic traffic in the dark (no headlights) – like a rollercoaster on the ground. Couldn’t stop laughing...
Our driver waited for the hour it took to find the least expensive saris in an amazing choice of colours and fabrics.
Finally, purchases made... just needed to complete the paperwork.
After travelling south our final destination before returning home was Cherrai Beach. The nearby town was not for tourists but had an abundance of clothing stores where I found lungis for the men at local prices.
Couldn’t resist some more sari fabric as well...
And this is what the (pearl) fishers might look like!
Last night’s open rehearsal for The Pearl Fishers was in full swing when I dropped in with the first of the props on my list.
Michael was busy with the baton (with Tim doing the honours at the keyboard), while his wife Dorothy took charge with her directorial debut (stepping into Heber founder, Roger Clow’s well worn shoes). As Michael had bought his camera along I took advantage and took some shots of these early proceedings.
It was great to see some new faces joining in enthusiastically while the old hands simply looked delighted to re-enter the Heber Opera fray. At these earliest of rehearsals it can seem a confusing mix of music and movement. But everyone was taking their first footsteps with a determination to get a feel for what lay ahead. Whether it was the cake bought along for interval refreshment, or the lure of the pub afterwards, I wasn’t sure, but I’m pretty certain everyone will be back for more!