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Seattle Opera to Perform THE PEARL FISHERS, 10/17

SEATTLE - Come away with Seattle Opera to an island paradise this fall. Bizet's intoxicating romance The Pearl Fishers will offer a chance to escape reality for a night of grand operatic spectacle Oct. 17 - 31, 2015. In this tale, a gorgeous priestess with an air of mystery is pursued by both a brave hunter and his best friend, the leader of a fishing village. Honor, jealousy, and communal duty complicate the love triangle; but a long-buried secret saves the day. Composed 12 years before Carmen, The Pearl Fishers is decorated with passionate duets, lusty choruses, and high-energy dance numbers. British fashion icon Zandra Rhodes has created a technicolor dream world with set and costume design. Rhodes has designed for Princess Diana and Elizabeth Taylor, and her vintage pieces have been worn by Sarah Jessica Parker on "Sex in the City," and by Kate Moss and Kelly Osbourne, to name a few. Seattle audiences may remember her whimsical costumes from The Magic Flute (2011).

Bringing this story of love and friendship to life is tenor John Tessier, returning as the rugged hunter Nadir, and baritone Brett Polegato, who returns as the strapping fisherman. Together, they'll perform "Au fond du temple saint"- the 'friendship duet' for which The Pearl Fishers is perhaps most famous.

However, while this particular piece is much-beloved, Seattle Opera General Director Aidan Lang says there's much more to Bizet's opera than its "greatest hit."

"The music of The Pearl Fishers is unceasingly apt for the dramatic moment at hand; at times bold and theatrical, at others ravishingly beautiful. This is French 19th century opera at its very best," Lang said. "Additionally, the vibrant designs by Zandra Rhodes capture the visual impact that the piece would surely have made on its original Parisian audience, but without making it a museum piece. Rhodes' designs make Bizet's masterpiece speak to today's audiences."

Starring as Leïla, the pinnacle of the two men's desires, is soprano Maureen McKay. McKay previous performed as a Seattle Opera Young Artist, and now makes her mainstage debut. In the opposite cast,Elizabeth Zharoff as Leïla is pursued by Keith Phares (Zurga) and Anthony Kalil (Nadir). Making company debuts in the role of the High Priest Nourabad are New Zealand bass Jonathan Lemalu and Korean baritone Joo Won Kang.

French Maestro Emmanuel Joel-Hornak makes his Seattle Opera debut, and Australian stage directorAndrew Sinclair returns following The Marriage of Figaro at Seattle Opera (1989). San Diego-based choreographer John Malashock makes his company debut.

Several performances of The Pearl Fishers offer fun opportunities for families and audience members of all ages. Why not skip the trick and treat oneself to an opera on Halloween? (Most seats are 25 percent off). Those who come dressed up might see their picture on Seattle Opera's Facebook page! Additionally, Seattle Opera's Family Day offers $15 admission (most any seat) for students 18 and under in the company of an adult, as well as fun intermission activities. Family Day is at 2 p.m., Sunday Oct. 18.

The Pearl Fishers premieres Saturday, Oct. 17, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 31. Tickets are available online at seattleopera.org or by calling 206.389.7676 or 800.426.1619. Tickets may also be purchased at the Box Office by visiting 1020 John Street (two blocks west of Fairview), Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Ticket prices start at $25. Groups save 15 percent: 206.676.5588 or groups@seattleopera.org. Seattle Opera Ticket Office: 206.389.7676/800.426.1619. Online orders: seattleopera.org.

Follow #SOPearlFishers on Twitter, Facebook and listen to excerpts of the opera on SoundCloud.



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