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/kor/ Productions Presents THE PEARL FISHERS

Bizet's tragic love-triangle between lifelong friends has undergone a modern makeover.

/kor/ productions has announced the next production in its digital 2020-21 season will be a contemporary retelling of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. The classic tale of brotherhood, human nature and forbidden love is streaming straight to audiences' home screens this March 11th, 12th and 13th.

Bizet's tragic love-triangle between lifelong friends has undergone a modern makeover. Rather than opting for the traditional run time of two-and-a-half hours, /kor/'s The Pearl Fishers has been broken into individual nightly installments. Each episode runs approximately forty-five minutes long across three consecutive evenings, making an exciting and appealing new operatic experience for modern audiences.

The Pearl Fishers follows the live-streaming model of /kor/'s Don Giovanni, which is based on a carefully-curated socially-distant production process. Each of the artists involved will be simultaneously performing live from the safety of their own homes, and broadcast remotely by a technical director. This technological balancing act is exclusive to /kor/ productions alone, and is overseen by /Kor/'s Technical Director, Kevin Kittle, and Music Director, James Welch.

To assist with this unique approach, /kor/ enlisted the help of George Cole, fresh off his innovative work with Pittsburg Festival Opera. Known for his enigmatic and energetic style, Cole has quickly become one of the most-sought-after young directors in the operatic world. His vision of Bizet's opera focuses on the shifting relationships between Zurga, Leila, and Nadir, and their abilities to adapt and change...or not. "2020 was an incredibly turbulent year of change for everyone," Cole explained.

"I wanted to really hone in on the challenges that these three characters undergo to their beliefs, their sense of self, and what they believe to hold dear. How would someone in today's society feel if they were forced to choose between their sense of loyalty and their own human nature? I wanted the audience to experience those challenges in a very real and visceral way, in real time with the characters that are encountering them." The idea of dealing with inner turmoil over multiple loyalties and brotherhood vs humanity are among the underlying themes that the production seeks to address. To encapsulate this, Cole sought to create a world that would "immediately be recognizable as rigid and terse". "We wanted to capture that feeling of 'something isn't quite right here'," he explained.

"We went with a sort of 1950's Mad Men aesthetic, because that era is still such a huge influence on today's American culture. It's a time period that is immediately relatable for many people. They remember actually living those experiences, and they can look back and visibly see the changes in society and themselves between then and now--that's what we are hoping to highlight, the change and fluidity that's possible in all of us."

To help achieve this, Cole championed Leila, a stereotypically-meek heroine, and reinvented her as a strong and determined corporate figurehead. "I wanted to explore Leila's possibilities," Cole explained. "So often, we see her portrayed as this powerless figure, someone without a lot of control over her own fate. And in some ways, she is here, too. The 50's was such a hostile environment for everyone, especially women and people of color. We wanted that rigidity to contrast with the attitudes and actions of the characters themselves. Everyone but Leila is caught up in a world of stereotypes and external appearances. But Leila is uncompromisingly herself--she comes in and quickly challenges everything the Board stands for. She's the outside force that's brought in to spur internal growth and development. "

The Pearl Fishers marks a new era of exciting changes for /kor/ productions. Their previous production, Don Giovanni, was nominated for 'Best New Local Opera Production of 2020' by The Chicago Reader. Upon hearing about the nomination, Moffitt was delighted. "The nomination from The Chicago Reader is a HUGE achievement for /kor/! The Reader has always been the paper that I personally read to get the local news, so it makes me especially happy that we've been noticed by other fans for our work with Don Giovanni. I hope it brings more audiences to the production, so they can share in the joy it's brought all of us!" Audience members can cast their vote until February 8th by visiting https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/best-of-ballot-voting-nominations/Content?oid=83800909.

For more information about The Pearl Fishers or /kor/productions, please visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/korproductions/.


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