On his way to creating what was to become the world’s most popular opera, in 1863 Georges Bizet composed this atmospheric tale of love, friendship, and sacrifice. Twelve years later, Bizet’s death at 36 during the first performances of Carmen was a tragic loss to the proliferation of French opera at the time.


The public loved The Pearl Fishers at its premiere, but many critics were hostile, just as they would be with Carmen later on. In both cases, the public was the better judge.


The Pearl Fishers, inspired by the European infatuation with all things Oriental, enfolded heady elements within the well-established traditions of French opera. After Bizet’s death, it was revived regularly, and today it is seen in most of the world’s leading opera houses. Foreshadowing the genius that Bizet was soon to demonstrate with Carmen, The Pearl Fishers contains one of the most famous tenor-baritone duets in all of opera.