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16.10.12

'Pearl Fishers'

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Charles T. Downey, Virginia Opera’s ‘The Pearl Fishers’ may signal a turn to the conventional
Washington Post, October 16, 2012

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Bizet, Les Pêcheurs de Perles, B. Hendricks, J. Aler, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, M. Plasson
Last season the Virginia Opera positioned itself as the local opera company most willing to challenge its audiences. It had accomplished this in the wake of a leadership schism in 2011, when founding music director Peter Mark was ousted by the company’s board. The company’s new season opened with a blandly traditional staging of Bizet’s flawed “The Pearl Fishers,” heard on Sunday afternoon at the George Mason University Center for the Arts. It may be the first sign of a turn back to the conventional, a season of mostly old favorites that will conclude with a musical.

What this production had going for it was an excellent soprano at the top of the cast. Heather Buck, who gave a sexy, icy sheen to the role of La Princesse in last winter’s outstanding production of Philip Glass’s “Orphee,” had an alluring presence and glimmering voice as Leila, the priestess who comes between two friends on the shores of ancient Ceylon. With pure, high notes even at pianissimo, beautifully controlled breath support and unobtrusive vibrato, Buck gracefully dispatched the trills and coloratura of the showpiece “O Dieu Brahma,” at the end of Act I. [Continue reading]
Bizet, The Pearl Fishers
Virginia Opera
GMU Center for the Arts

SEE ALSO:
Terry Ponick, Virginia Opera's bright, affecting 'Pearl Fishers' at GMU (Washington Times, October 15)

Charles T. Downey, Bizet's 'Pearl,' Dusted Off (Washington Post, September 22, 2008)

---, Opera Preview: Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Ionarts, September 18, 2008)

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