In the course of exoticism were in the 19th century in the opera Schauplätz remote and seemingly exotic musical elements much in style. 1863 Georges Bizet received by the Director of the Théâtre Lyrique the order, also to compose such a piece - it was Bizet's first great opera, which he was present. The triangle story from the pen of experienced librettists Cormon and Carré offered strange rituals, beautiful native Between them is the same feeling as in the towers are lit settled in the Old World pieces.
The Pearl Fishers expect the consecrated virgin, which is to settle down with their prayers the sea, so that fishermen can do their work safely. Zurga, their new leader, and his friend, the hunter Nadir had, was once in love with the same girl, but vowed that for the sake of their friendship to forego both on them. But Nadir has the oath secretly broken and the girl approached. As the veiled Virgin pulls up, they must swear never to belong to a man. At the sound of her voice but Nadir recognizes her immediately in that girl he loves, Leila. At night, take the lovers, but are caught by the high priest Nourabad. Zurga must both be condemned to death. First he wants to pardon his friend and the Virgin pity, but as Nourabad tearing down the veil of the Virgin and thus Zurga nadir has to discover fraud, he condemned the couple full of jealous rage to death. He quickly regretted his decision, especially since he learns of Leila, who asks for the life of Nadir that it has Zurga once saved his life. When the lovers are led to execution, puts Zurga fire in the camp of fishermen to give opportunity to escape in the resulting chaos Nadir and Leila.