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The Pearl Fishers

Courtesy of Arizona Opera
Performers act out a scene from "The Pearl Fishers." The opera, which is playing at the Tucson Convention Center, features sets that were brought in from Chile and a huge, reclining Buddha.
By Lindsay Muth
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 9, 2003

Opera Lures In Students With Great Discount, Great Singing

The costumes will dazzle you. The music and dancing will overwhelm you with good feelings. The sets will astound you. The story may just warm your heart. And you (if you are a UA student) will be able to attend for half price, providing you go with a friend who is also a UA student. All this, and you don't even have to know how to speak French. All that you have to do is sit back and let the Arizona Opera entertain you with The Pearl Fishers at the Tucson Convention Center.

"The spectacle of this opera is beautiful," said Amanda Smith, choreographer/dancer for The Pearl Fishers. Smith graduated from the UA last May with a bachelor's in Dance. She now works with the Arizona Opera. "The sets were brought in from Chile, and feature a huge reclining Buddha," she said.

The Pearl Fishers tells the story of two fishermen in ancient Celyon (now Sri Lanka) who find they are in love with the same woman. Love, rivalry, friendship, and romance all lead to some glorious singing as each man must choose between friendship and romance, and actions are taken which put everyone's future at risk. The opera, written by Georges Bizet, who also composed the renowned opera "Carmen," contains the famous tenor-baritone duet "Au fond du temple saint."

"Some students may recognize it," said Smith.

For students who can't imagine recognizing a song from 1863, sung exuberantly in French, "The Pearl Fishers" may just be a golden opportunity to expand narrow-ish horizons. "If you have never been to an opera," said Smith, "'The Pearl Fishers' is an exciting one to begin with."

Music, dancing, drama, men in wigs· if these things don't embody a good time, they ought to. "Everyone onstage in an opera wears a wig, "said Smith, "Even the men. The costumes for the dancers in an opera tend to be more elaborate with heavy material, and corsets. Dancing in a 10 lb dress and a 5 lb wig makes the dancing much harder."

The dancing in an opera, like the singing and acting, helps to bring together the story as a whole. "In choreographing for opera, you are making the dances fit into the entire production· The dances help tell the story as opposed to standing by themselves as pieces of art. As a dancer in an opera, you are a character just like the chorus and principals," said Smith.

For those concerned that their French comprehension skills are lacking· there's no need to worry about the language barrier. Although the opera is performed in French, an English translation will be projected above the stage throughout the performance.

The student discount on tickets (buy one get one free) is good for the 7:30 pm shows this Friday and Saturday (Oct. 10 and 11). "The Pearl Fishers" will also run on Sunday at 2:00 pm, however, the discount does not apply to Sunday. Seats range from $25 - $90 and the discount can be applied to any seat ö which equates to $12.50 - $45 per seat for pairs of UA students. In order to purchase tickets, both students must show their student I.D. Tickets can be purchased on the night of the show at the TCC or through the box office at 3501 North Mountain Avenue. For box office information call 293-4336.

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