The Pearl Fishers

 Opera Company of Philadelphia • April 23, 25, 28, May 1, 4, 7, 9, 2004 at the Academy of Music

Scenic and Lighting Design: Boyd Ostroff • Director: Kay Walker Castaldo • Choreographer: David McCarty • Costume Design: Richard St. Clair • Hair and Makeup Design: Tom Watson • Conductor: Jacques LaCombe

Nadir: William Burden • Zurga: Nathan Gunn • Leïla: Mary Dunleavy • Nourabad: David Michael

pearl_header“Designer Boyd Ostroff outdoes himself with an inviting background seascape and playing spaces set off by diaphanous scrims, suiting the Sri Lankan setting and lovely score to perfection.” – David Shengold, Philadelphia City Paper, 4/29/2004

“Set in Sri Lanka in a bygone era when ocean-side villages were based on the pearl trade, this producton benefited from scenery, designed by Boyd Ostroff, which wonderfully evoked the mystery of the orient. The painted scrims conveyed islands with steep mountains and deep bays. In the opening scene the head from a large statue of Buddha dominated one side of the stage while the other displayed a set of steps carved into a cliff. The transparency of the sea scrim was especially effective when the fishermen would dive and swim across the sea that extended from the proscenium to the stage floor.” – James Brash, Northwest Reverb, 1/12/2009

“Along with Boyd Ostroff’s sets, which capture the enchantment the 19th century found in the then-mysterious island of Ceylon, and Richard St. Clair’s graceful costumes, I loved Castaldo’s production when I first saw it in Philadelphia a few years ago.” – Bernard Jacobson, Seattle Times, 1/12/2009

“A dreamily romantic setting designed by Boyd Ostroff, originally created for Opera Company of Philadelphia, was a showcase in itself” – Charles H. Parsons, Opera News, 2/2/2007

“…Boyd Ostroff’s clean, simple set of a painted lagoon, curtains, and votive fragments seem more neoclassical than South Asian — a nice counterpart to the floating ease of Bizet’s bel canto-inspired melodies. It all sets a tone for the production that is languid, reflective but uncomplicated, set in dream time.”  – Thomas May,, 1/17/2009

“Barry Steele’s projected images and kaleidoscopic lighting add fine nuances to Boyd Ostroff’s sets, which paint evocative stage pictures amid effective displays of mist, thunder and lightning.” – Donald Rosenberg, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/24/2010


Design Evolution



Final Design Sketches




Production Photos




Construction Photos




Backstage Photos




Design/Technical Drawings



Production Staff

pearl_programDirector of Design and Technology: Boyd Ostroff • Production Manager: Greg Prioleau • Lighting Coordinator: Drew Billiau • Props Coordinator: Cindy Felice • Costume Director: Richard St. Clair • Stage Manager: Jill Hermes • Asst Stage Managers: Amy Becker, Hannah Stricklin • Asst Scenic Designer: Vanessa Fenton • Asst Lighting Designer: Drew Billiau

Technical Director: John Callahan • Master Electrician: Dennis Moore, Jr, Properties Master: Paul Lodes • Asst Electrician: William Hennessy • Flyman: Timothy Callahan

Shop Carpenters: Timothy Callahan, Paul Lodes, Thomas Bowen, John Damiani, Frank Grasso, Edward Murray

Scenic Artists: Krzystof Bratun, Vanessa Fenton, Hannah Price, Christie Whisman, Jonanna Dinella

Props Artist: Gina Unander



Scenery Data

  • Built Mar-Apr, 2004 at the Opera Company of Philadelphia Production Center / Frankford Arsenal
  • Scenery construction budget: $100,813 • Actual cost: $89,225 • Total rental income: $66,000 as of May 2011
  • Load-in crew: 18 • Run Crew: 18  (carpenters, flymen and props only) • 8 hours required for load-in • 2 trucks required for shipping
  • This opera was performed in rotating repertory with The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein
  • This production no longer exists



The Pearl Fishers on YouTube (videography by Boyd Ostroff for the Opera Company of Philadelphia)


The Pearl Fishers (Indianapolis)

Indianapolis Opera • October 7, 9, 2005


Scenic and Lighting Design: Boyd Ostroff • Director: Kay Walker Castaldo • Choreographer: Amanda Miller • Costume Design: Richard St. Clair • Wig/Makeup Design: Sara Beukers • Conductor: James Caraher

Zurga: Victor Benedetti • Nadir: Gran Wilson • Leila: Diane Alexander • Norabad: Mark McCrory

Artistic Administrator: Stephen Goldberg • Technical Director: Anthony Bauer • Asst Lighting Designer: Ruth Hutson • Production Stage Manager: Deborah Jo Barrett • Costume Coordinator: DeLane Wood

Head Carpenter: Mike Ray • Asst Carpenter: Don Heintzelman • Head Electrician: Sandra Clem • Asst Electrician: Jeff Edwards • Head Properties • Robert Pierpont



Production History

Opera Company of Philadelphia • April 23, 25, 28, May 1, 4, 7, 9, 2004 (premiere)Scenic and Lighting Design: Boyd OstroffDirector: Kay Walker CastaldoCostume Design: Richard St. ClairConductor: Jacques LaCombe

Indianapolis Opera • October 7, 9, 2005Scenic and Lighting Design: Boyd OstroffDirector: Kay Walker CastaldoCostume Design: Richard St. ClairConductor: James Caraher

Kentucky Opera • February 2, 4, 2007Scenic Design: Boyd OstroffDirector: Joshua MajorCostume Design: Howard Tsvi KaplanConductor: Scott Bergeson

Seattle Opera • January 10-24, 2008Scenic Design: Boyd OstroffDirector: Kay Walker CastaldoLighting Design: Neil Peter JampolisCostume Design: Richard St. ClairConductor: Gerard Schwarz

Opera Cleveland • September 23, 25, 26, 2010Scenic Design: Boyd OstroffDirector: Kay Walker CastaldoLighting Design: Barry SteeleConductor: Dean Williamson

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