My favourite performance with Opera Vlaanderen so far has to be this unique production of Bizet's Les Pêcheurs de Perles. Set in an old people's care home, this production looks back on the lives and loves of the past. Instead of physically and literally diving for pearls, the characters in our production are diving for pearls of memories within their own lives' journeys. I play a nurse who works in the morgue. So now all of my colleagues have nicknamed me "Nurse Jenny". And one of my friends who came to watch said that I was like "an Angel of Death".
"Les Pêcheurs de perles, Bizet's first great attempt to write a dramatic lyrical drama is a hidden gem, often overshadowed by Carmen. But all that will surely change in the hands of the stand-out theatre collective FC Bergman. They immerse the story about the transience of love and friendship in a fascinating world. A must-see opera debut!
Practically all that has remained of Les Pêcheurs de perles in the collective memory is the beautiful duet Au fond du temple saint, while the view of the libretto as questionable hackwork has kept the opera from the stage. This operatic tale of pearls and fishermen has, in a sense, itself lain hidden within its shell. And wrongly so, because behind the intense, at times sentimental story and superficial exotic flourishes, there is a strikingly modern theme: nostalgia for the purity of youth.
In directing Les Pêcheurs de perles, the internationally acclaimed Antwerp theatre collective FC Bergman are venturing into opera for the first time. They mingle a hard realism with a mysterious, dreamlike atmosphere, a highly suitable combination for an opera that, in both the music and the story, connects a bygone age with the immediacy of the now. With this production, the Belgian conductor David Reiland will also be making his debut at Opera Vlaanderen."
Length: 1 hours 40 minutes, without intermission French with Dutch surtitles
Photos: Annemie Augustijns
Jennifer Coleman - is a classical / opera singer, and vocal coach, performing across the UK and internationally.