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Georges Bizet’s famous opera has been reinterpreted many times since its first performance on 30 September 1863 at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris.

In OperaQ’s upcoming production, director Michael Gow gives it a new lease of life, exploring the history of Ceylon’s colonial past and revealing a world of both beauty and terror, grandeur and decay. Designed by Robert Kemp, the production boasts vivid sets and ornate costumes which, in March this year, won a Green Room award for ‘Best Design for an Opera’.

Inspired by recent trips to India and Sri Lanka, Kemp’s designs for the production radiate colour and exoticism. “You always notice that in Hindu culture it is always very lively, and colourful, and exuberant. I wanted to get away from being very tasteful and theatrical and just capture what it really is like – filled with energy,” noted Kemp on his travels.

See Robert Kemp’s award-winning designs this May, when Opera Queensland presents Michael Gow’s The Pearlfishers.


Opera Australia's THE PEARLFISHERS MA16 photo Jeff Busby_1120

Robert Kemp’s vibrant designs. Image by Jeff Busby.

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Robert Kemp’s costume designs for this new production of The Pearlfishers. L-R: Leila, Ladies Chorus, Nadir.

Designer Robert Kemp

Designer, Robert Kemp and The Pearlfishers costumes