Pearl 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