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CHAN 3156
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CHAN 3156

Bizet: The Pearl Fishers (Highlights)

The Classical Shop
release date: September 2008

Originally recorded in 2007


London Philharmonic Orchestra

Brad Cohen

Simon Keenlyside

baritone - Zurga

Alastair Miles

bass - Nourabad

Rebecca Evans

soprano - Leïla

Barry Banks

tenor - Nadir

Geoffrey Mitchell Choir


Blackheath Halls, London


Rachel Smith

Brian Couzens



Ralph Couzens

Peter Newble


Record Label
Opera In English


Opera in English

Total Time - 78:49
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  highlights from  

The Pearl Fishers

  Opera in Three Acts  
  Libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré  
  English translation by David Parry  
  from Act I  
1 Prelude 1:54
  No. 1a, Introductioin  
2 'At the break of day with the waves at play' 3:32
  No. 1b, Scene and Chorus  
3 'My friends, yoiu must delay your dances' 4:03
  Zurga, Chorus, Nadir  
  No. 1 c, Recitative and Chorus reprise  
4 'Stay here and live with us, Nadir' 2:14
  Zurga, Nadir, Chorus  
  No. 2a, Recitative  
5 'At last I have found you again!' 2:37
  Zurga, Nadir  
  No. 2b, Duet  
6 'Then from the holy shrine' 7:11
  Nadir, Zurga  
  No. 4a, Recitative  
7 'Hearing her voice my soul is a cauldron of passion!' 1:24
  No. 4b, Romance  
8 'Again her voice will haunt me' 3:11
  No. 5, Air and Chorus  
9 'Brahma the god, sovereign of the world' 5:31
  Leïla, Chorus, Nadir  
  from Act II  
  No. 7, Recitative and Cavatina  
10 'I am alone here in the night' 6:50
  No. 8, Chanson  
11 'My love was weeping while she was sleeping' 1:53
  No. 9, Duo  
12 'Leïla! Leïla!' 6:49
  Nadir, Leïla  
  from Act III  
  No. 11, Entr'acte, Recitative and Air  
13 'The storm has run its course' 6:22
  No. 12a, Recitative  
14 '(She is here! My heart… is pounding…)' 1:07
  Zurga, Leïla  
  No. 12b, Duo  
15 '(I would speak, but I cannot)' 10:03
  Leïla, Zurga, Chorus  
  No. 14, Scene and Duo  
16 'Spirits of dreaful night' 4:46
  Nourabad, Chorus, Nadir, Leïla  
  Bonus tracks  
  No. 15, Trio (posthumous ending)  
17 'Sacred light of being' 4:03
  Leïla, Nadir, Zurga  
  No. 2b, Duet (posthumous ending)  
18 'Then from the holy shrine' 5:19
  Nadir, Zurga  
 Simon Keenlyside baritone - Zurga
 Barry Banks tenor - Nadir
 Rebecca Evans soprano - Leïla
 Alastair Miles bass - Nourabad
 Brad Cohen
  10-12 September 2007  
Although not as well known as Bizet’s Carmen, The Pearl Fishers contains a wealth of attractive music, including the well-known duet ‘Au fond du Temple saint’, one of the UK’s favourite tunes. There is surely no better way of discovering the jewels of this romantic work than listening to the superb voices of Rebecca Evans, Barry Banks, Simon Keenlyside, and Alastair Miles.

The soprano Rebecca Evans takes the role of Leila. Her previous appearances on Opera in English include the role of Gretel in the Grammy-Award-winning Hansel and Gretel.

The baritone Simon Keenlyside, who takes the role of Zurga, has previously appeared on Chandos’ The Magic Flute; he will appear in Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House. Both Barry Banks and Alastair Miles have recorded discs of arias for Chandos and here take the roles of Nadir and Nourabad, respectively.

A leading interpreter of the bel-canto repertoire, internationally renowned for his conducting of operas of Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini, the Australian Brad Cohen here makes his debut on Chandos. He first came to public attention when, a year after winning the 1994 Leeds Conductor’s Competition, he conducted the world premiere of Thomas Adès’s Powder Her Face. Since that promising beginning he has conducted a wide-ranging repertoire at English National Opera, Opera Australia and Opera North, to name but a few. This recording is the first to use Cohen’s own edition of The Pearl Fishers. Cohen was able to secure the original conductor’s score from 1863 and has created a new version, published by Peters Edition, that is arguably much closer to Bizet’s intentions and includes the original version of the famous duet ‘Au fond du Temple saint, plus a recording of the popularly used version we all know today.

Keenlyside, as so often happens in his recordings, is the star here. This is, I believe, his debut in Chandos’ Opera in English series, and worth the long wait. In terrific voice, he projects immediate strength and appeal the moment he begins to sing.
International Record Review

Keenlyside is authoritative as the tormented Zurga and Banks is wonderfully passionate as his rival in love
Classic FM Magazine

It was Rebecca Evans’s Gretel, who took the honours. Spinning out radiant lines of delicious purity, she made it hard to see how the role could be sung better
The Times

Barry Banks contrasts well with Simon Keenlyside’s tempestuous, heart-torn Zurga: their fraught friendship totally convinces. Alastair Miles exudes the magisterial utterance one wants in a Brahmin priest. Cohen and the London Philharmonic lead us into a sound-picture that reveals depth upon depth of ear-catching scene-painting. At 79 minutes this disc gives you the pearl in Bizet’s oyster.

Barry Banks and Simon Keenlyside, singing the aria in English as ‘then from the holy shrine’, do Bizet proud. The voices meld through the big tune, producing a hearfelt hymn to friendship. And Brad Choen conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra, almost makes you believe it’s the first time you’ve heard the celebrated melody for harp and flute solo that introduce the duet. This is an opera crammed with delectable tunes and duets…
BBC Music Magazine

The star however is Rebecca Evan’s Leila, exquisitely beautiful of tone, immaculate technically and getting a lot of the words across. This deserves to fly off the shelves and out of the shopping websites
The Sunday Times

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