Flute part from Au fond du temple saint, from "The Pearl Fishers"

Georges Bizet
5 minutes
Classical music

Despite its exotic setting, this early opera stubbornly refuses to abandon the stage and enter the heart, as Carmen undoubtedly did. What conviction there is comes mainly from the 25-year-old composer's melodic fluency and subtle treatment of the orchestra, as in the beautiful tune of the Prelude.

The scene is set in Ceylon and concerns the love of Zurga, king of the pearl fishers, and his friend Nadir for a priestess, Le�la. In the first act, the two men meet and have apparently recovered from their infatuation; but the priestess is appointed by the pearl fishers to protect them from the wrath of the Hindu god Brahma during the fishing season. Despite her veil, Nadir recognizes Le�la, again falls in love with her, and his affection is returned. Despite Le�la's vow of chastity, they are found in the sanctuary of the temple. The High Priest Nourabad tears off her veil and Zurga, in a jealous fury, condemns her to death. But, it appears, Zurga once showed his gratitude to a girl who helped him when he was being attacked by robbers by giving her a necklace, and he notices that Le�la is wearing the necklace. He decides to free her, starts a fire in the pearl fishers' tents, and the prisoners escape. (In later productions, Zurga is usually killed, but this does not happen in the printed libretto of the original vocal score).

The plot is mawkish, the characters weakly drawn, and much of the music derivative (mainly of Gounod and Massenet, though there is also a considerable debt to Verdi). The best (and worst) parts are the concerted choruses and ensembles, though Zurga and Nadir's duet "Au fond de la Temple," which returns again and again in the manner of a leitmotif, has to some extent proved an insurance against the eclipse of Les P�cheurs. Le�la's oath of chastity, "Je le jure" in Act One, is also treated in this episodic way. Bizet received few favors from his librettists (Carr� and Piestre) and highlight discs are usually more impressive than complete performances.

This arrangement is for solo Tenor and Bass with small chamber ensemble.

Which method of viewing music should I use?

Score Exchange has two methods to display previews of music: seView which uses regular html and javascipt and the Scorch plug-in from Avid which needs to be downloaded and installed onto your computer. Both have advantages and disadvantages:


seView, is the most compatible option. You should be able to view music on all modern web browsers including most mobile devices. Even if your device does not support javascript you should still be able to preview at least page one of the music.

You do not need to install any additional software to use seView.


Scorch is a free plug-in from Avid for displaying and printing music. It can also play the music that you're seeing. As modern web browsers are updated, Scorch is no longer compatible with many browsers. Scorch has never been compatible with mobile devices and some web browsers on Mac computers.

If your web browser does not install Scorch automatically, you can click here to download and install scorch manually.

cloud scorch goes here

Licensing for this music

This part was published on Score Exchange by Glynn Davies. When you buy it, you are granted a license that includes the following:

Sharing the file you download
When you buy the score - make multiple copies
When you buy parts - make multiple copies

For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

In order to submit this part to ScoreExchange.com Glynn Davies has declared that they own the copyright to this work in its entirety or that they have been granted permission from the copyright holder to use their work. If you believe that this part should be not available here because it infringes your or someone elses copyright, please report this part using the copyright abuse form.