Fishers - 1999
A Pearl of
Opera Gets Reward it Deserves
BIZET'S The Pearl Fishers
may have one of the best-known duets in opera but it rarely receives
a full public performance. Kentish Opera's production at the
Churchill Theatre last week was, therefore, an event of some
consequence - its second presentation of the work in four years.
Big audiences for every performance were a just reward for what
was a work of great artistic quality and an orchestra that excelled
itself under the baton of Stephen Harris. Director Sally Langford
opted to keep as close as possible to Bizet's original score,
even though it has been criticised for being lightweight. There
is no doubt the power and passion of Carmen seem the stuff of
another composer by comparison but The Pearl Fishers has qualities
rarely found in opera.
The duet In the Depths of the Temple may be well known but it
still has the power to bring tears to the eyes when featured
in its proper setting.
Principal singers were
rotated through the week but at the performance I attended all
were superb. Tenor Wills Morgan as the hunter, Nadir, stood like
a giant among the dusky Sri Lankan natives and sang with a velvet-textured
voice that had appealing gentle undertones.
Although not having the power of some tenors, his performance
came from the heart and was mesmeric.
Just as potent, but in a different way, was the regal authority
of baritone Gary Coward as Nadir's close friend, Zurga. His and
Wills' performance of that duet was worthy of any opera house.
Kentish Times 29 April 1999