Runtime (2 hours and 7 minutes)


Bizet’s luscious opera, The Pearl Fishers will bring to Austin the beauty of Sri Lanka in this heart-rending struggle to the death between friendship and love. In the instantly recognizable duet, “Au fond du temple saint,” best friends Zurga and Nadir swear that their friendship will never again be challenged by the love of a woman. Of course, as with all good foreshadowing, the arrival of a veiled and anonymous priestess does exactly that.

As the men each realize that the priestess is in fact Leïla, the woman they both once loved and fought over, the triangles at play in the opera are not simply between the three main characters. A battle also ensues between friendship, love, and vows made in faith, and as secrets are revealed and vows are broken, love can only be won through sacrifice. But who must ultimately lose everything to allow the others to find love and happiness?

Vowing friendship and vying for love will be two Austin newcomers. Baritone, Will Liverman, who will play Zurga, recently received enormous acclaim for his performance as Charles in the Metropolitan Opera’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones. Zurga’s best friend and love rival, Nadir, will be sung by internationally-renowned tenor and San Antonio-native, David Portillo. The priestess, Leïla, will be performed by soprano, Madison Leonard, who sang Gilda in Austin Opera’s Rigoletto in 2019 and who will have most recently played Chrisann Brennan in Mason Bates and Mark Campbell’s The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs in early 2022.

The vividly lush jungles, soaring palm trees, and scorched golden sand of this tropical island are vibrantly and delicately designed by acclaimed British 60s-wild-child fashion designer, Dame Zandra Rhodes. The Sarah and Ernest Butler Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor, Timothy Myers, conducts this poignantly moving production.

Saturday, April 29, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 4, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 7, 2023 at 2:30 p.m.

An interview with Anuradha Naimpally, Austin Dance India

Performer Spotlight, Will Liverman

Flip through a digital copy of the performance program