Marloes van der Hoek
Wikke van Houwelingen

Carry Hendriks, Management

Merel de Vroome, assistent






The Pearl Fishers

In Bizet’s opera The Pearl Fishers, the two friends Nadir and Zurga are both pearl fishers, and are both in love with the same girl, Leïla. They swear an oath of faithfulness to each other. And because Leïla unexpectedly disappears from their life in the village, their friendship stays intact. Years later, Leïla returns as a chaste priestess. Nadir recognizes her, and begins to court her. The two of them are caught, and are sentenced to burn at the stake. Zurga, who has since become the leader of the fishermen, helps them to escape. The angry villagers then grab Zurga and throw him onto the stake that was meant for the two lovers.

For the community of pearl fishermen, the sea is everything: both a source of life, as well as their fate. We designed a monumental wave as a way of depicting their fears and desires. A 100-square-metre sail is lifted millimetre by millimetre, and remains constantly in motion throughout the three acts. Like a rolling wave crest, it curls to looming heights and then forcefully crashes down. The ensuing gust can be felt all the way at the back of the space. The wave then begins again, only this time it rises even higher, like an all-destroying tsunami. This seemingly simple set was a huge challenge for the technical team. The fragile material had to be able to withstand the hours of tensile movements, as well as the forces required for the curvature, and the force that is released when the sail falls.

De Nederlandse Reisopera 2015

musical director Benjamin Levy

director Timothy Nelson

light Gé Wegman

costumes Elena Werner

sound Remco de Jong &
Florentijn Bodderdijk

scenography M\W