Opera in three acts four scenes libretto by M. Carré and E. Cormon. Characters Leila soprano Nadir tenor Zurg baritone Nurabad bass. Venue Fr. Ceylon.
On the shore of the island gathered pearl divers to choose the leader. The choice falls on Zurg - the most experienced and respected hunter. Suddenly from the coastal thickets shows a young man. Zurg recognizes him Nadir his former friend the love of beauty encountered once separated them and made enemies. Nader went on a long journey and now returned convinced that overcame his passion. The feud is forgotten nothing prevents the old friendship. In the sea there is a boat in her feminine figure covered with a blanket. To dangerous fishing was good you need to appease the evil spirits of the sea and it can only make a prayer priestess a celibate and purity. The boat hit the beach. Catchers greet his future intercessor. Zurg reminds her of the oath of renunciation of love. Woman vows and at this point sees Nadir who like her shocked unexpected meeting. In priestess he learns his girlfriend Leila.
Night had fallen. The High Priest removes Nurabad Leila to the temple on a steep beach surrounded by wild cliffs. Loneliness new priestess will guard armed guard. Nurabad asks whether Leila keep this oath? In response she says as a child she hid the fugitive who is wanted by the enemy and despite the threats did not give him in return gave her a necklace saved - that`s it. When Nurabad out the thought of an unexpected meeting with Nadir the memories of their love capture Leila. Holding her breath she listens afar came the song Nadir. The voice is coming but when the young man comes to the temple it covers the fear what would happen if they appear together! Leila begs loved to go he agrees to come back the next day. On the trail of his grasp guard. Priests and fishermen require execution of criminals. Zurg calms them he - and the leader will decide the fate of the young people. Then Nurabad rips off girls veil and Zurg know Leila a girl the love of which made him enemies with IC. Blinded by jealousy and revenge he suddenly changes the solution let both perish!
Zurg alone in his tent. Gloomy thoughts tormented him how could he yielding to a fit of rage to condemn to death of a friend and a favorite! Catchers enter the tent Leila who wants to talk to the chief. She broke the vow and ready for a harsh penalty but Nader is innocent and Leila fervently praying for his salvation. Leila intercession only inflames the jealousy Zurg. Humiliated in his love eager for revenge he again demands death for both. Leila asks young fisherman to fulfill her last wish - include mother of pearl necklace. Struck Zurg know him the necklace he gave once saved his little girl he was sentenced to death the one which owes his life.
Around a blazing campfire catchers dance sacred dance of vengeance. Leila and Nadir are prepared to enter into the fatal circle. Suddenly Gretsiyu horizon glow of a fire. Zurg brings news that the angry gods sent fire to huts and crops. Forgetting about the convicts escape hunters. We can only Nurabad which seems suspicious is happening. Hidden he hears Zurg that he set fire to the village to help the escape of Leila and Nadir. Lovers often hidden in impenetrable and the high-priest meanwhile szyvaet people. Enraged catchers cruel vengeance fraud Zurg killed in the sacred flame of the fire.
The opera was completed in 1863. The first performance took place on September 30 of that year on the stage of the Paris Lyric Theatre. After 18 performances of opera disappeared from the repertoire.