Bevan, as the heroine, manages to remind us of the romantic proponent Bizet was through the soft lullaby aria, “Me voila seule” and boasts her ability to prolong high notes, more times than not.
Tessier and von Berger give their best performance of the duet, and even if it wasn’t vocally consistence throughout, there were moments of heartfelt poignancy that assured an audience that their money was well spent.
Tessier serenade voice was clear yet, unfortunately for von Berger, his voice was only redeemable towards Act 3 as it was drowned out by Jean-Luc Tingaud’s direction of a fiery orchestra.
As mentioned, Bizet’s musical score is first class and, one may argue, the only success of the opera which makes it harder to address any potential flaws with the orchestra but Tingaud goes full steam at the finale of Act 2 were the secret lovers are discovered.
All singers and chorus sang hard and loud with their arms raised to the sky, which was maximised by the roaring of an oncoming storm, the triumphant beats of drums and bold brass instruments.
However, why were the cast static? Why did the appear gormless? When it came to scene changes, a silent audience was left with rotating digital footage of water, which may be unkind to anyone prone to seasickness. For as long as four minutes, the waiting was worsened by the awkward sounds of backstage; the banging and thumping of props and muffled conversations between what sounded like beer bellied construction workers.
Even the woody set design of the shantytown was creaky which overshadowed the harmony and tranquillity of Bizet’s songs. There are some notable details such as the moonlit aquarium scenery, which added to the soothing ambiance yet, brilliant and seductive music aside, there were almost too many concerns regarding the stage itself.
The Pearl Fishers shows at the ENO until the 5th July