Opera Recap: The Pearl Fishers, Act II
Theme: Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.
Even though Leila spent all night singing to her boyfriend instead of praying to protect the poor Pearl Fishers, the priest returns to the altar to let her know that she did an awesome job, everyone got home safely, and now she can sleep. But he reminds her that it’s not the Bachelorette, etc. and she’s all,
“Yeah, I know, I’m super good at keeping my word, because once I harbored a fugitive and I didn’t tell anyone where he was hiding and he gave me this sweet pearl necklace as a thank you and I never told anyone about it until now, oh whoops.”
The priest is not sure what that story has to do with anything, so he leaves, and she tries to sleep, but she can’t stop thinking of Nadir and it’s no surprise to anyone but her when he shows up at the foot of her altar.
You can imagine what happens next: let’s just say that it’s a good thing that Mysterious Veiled Priestess outfits from the (undefined) century have about a jillion layers because otherwise Leila would have been totally naked when the priest came back (and of course the priest came back, he was only 10 feet away and Leila and Nadir didn’t just shut up and do it, they had to sing and sing and sing: does nobody in this Fictional Pearl Fishing Village understand how to sneak around???).
So, here we are, angry priest, half-naked Leila, and red-handed Nadir, who are soon surrounded by an angry mob of villagers, since nothing gets the Pearl Fisher version of nextdoor buzzing like rumors of a Mysterious Veiled Priestess who can’t keep her many, many layers of skirt on. Slut-shaming ensues, which quickly escalates to calls for death. Things start to look really bad. But lo, here comes Zurga! Wise, lenient Zurga. “Take it easy on my bro Nadir,” he tells the mob. “Lovers gotta love. Let’s settle for a good banishing instead.” The crowd stands down, but before they go, the priest removes Leila’s veil so everyone can see what a lying treacherous so-and-so looks like and Zurga is shocked — shocked — to see that she is the same. Mysterious. Veiled. Woman. Which means Nadir is a lying dirtbag.
“Forget it, kill ’em both,” says Zurga
…and it’s kind of hard not to see things from his point of view.
Verdict, end of Act II:
- Leila: Now unemployed
- Nadir: Just learned the cost of putting hos before bros
- Zurga: Seriously regretting not making out with Nadir when he had the chance
- Villagers: Stoked that they’ll have a good old-fashioned stoning or whatever to watch the next day
- The sea: Roiling