Les pêcheurs de perles
(The Pearl Fishers
) is an opera in three acts by the French composer Georges Bizet
, to a libretto
by Eugène Cormon
and Michel Carré
. It was first performed on 30 September 1863 at the Théâtre Lyrique
in Paris, and was given 18 performances in its initial run. Set in ancient times on the island of Ceylon
, the opera is a story of how two men's vow of eternal friendship is threatened by their love for the same woman, whose own dilemma is the conflict between secular love and her sacred oath as a priestess. The friendship duet "Au fond du temple saint"
, generally known as "The Pearl Fishers Duet", is one of the best-known numbers in Western opera.
At the time of the premiere, Bizet was 25 years old and had yet to establish himself in the Parisian musical world. The commission to write Les pêcheurs arose from his standing as a former winner of the prestigious Prix de Rome. Despite a good reception by the public, press reactions to the work were generally hostile and dismissive, although other composers, notably Hector Berlioz, found considerable merit in the music. The opera was not revived in Bizet's lifetime, but from 1886 onwards it was performed with some regularity in Europe and America, and from the mid-20th century has entered the repertory of opera houses worldwide. Because the autograph score was lost, post-1886 productions were based on amended versions of the score that contained significant departures from the original. However, since the 1970s, efforts have been made to reconstruct the score in accordance with Bizet's intentions.
Alain Marie Pascal Prost
, Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur
is a French
racing driver. A four-time Formula One
Drivers' Champion, Prost has won more titles than any driver except for Juan Manuel Fangio
(five championships), and Michael Schumacher
(seven championships). From 1987 until 2001 Prost held the record for most Grand Prix
victories. Schumacher surpassed Prost's total of 51 victories at the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix
. In 1999, Prost received the World Sports Awards of the Century
in the motor sport category.
Prost discovered karting at the age of 14 during a family holiday. He progressed through motor sport's junior ranks before joining the McLaren Formula One team in 1980 at the age of 25. He finished in the points on his Formula One début in Argentina and took his first race victory at his home Grand Prix in France a year later, while he was driving for the factory Renault team.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Prost formed a fierce rivalry with mainly Ayrton Senna, but also Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell. In 1986, at the last race of the season, he managed to pip Mansell and Piquet of Williams to the title. Senna joined Prost at McLaren in 1988 and the two had a series of controversial clashes, including a collision at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix that gave Prost his third Drivers' Championship. Before the end of a winless 1991 season Prost was fired by Ferrari for his public criticism of the team. After a sabbatical in 1992, Prost joined the Williams team. With a competitive car, Prost won the 1993 championship and retired from driving at the end of the year.