Even though the name of the conductor for this recording is not well known to me, it is a good recording. It does exactly what I’m expecting of French opera: lots of colours and subtle tones. The most famous of all duets is there too: the duet of the perl fishers, called ‘Au fond du temple saint‘
In it, two perl fishers vow their eternal friendship, and reminisce their past in the capital of Kandy, when they nearly lost their friendship due to a beautiful woman they both fancied. This all takes place in the exotic (for French) place of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.
The opera premiered in 1863, when Bizet was just 25 years old. He was not yet established in the Paris cultural society, and his opera met with fierce critique. Musically derivative (Gounod, Massenet and Verdi) and with a flimsy story. Later versions usually edited the score in a bad way, so much so that the highlights are usually better to listen to than the work itself.
It was an immediate success in the eye of the public though. Ten years later Bizet would create Carmen.