The beautiful opera melody Lakmé “Flower Duet”

Lakmé "Flower Duet"

The gorgeous french duet “Flower Duet” is a highlight from exotic opera Lakmé by french composer Léo Delibes for soprano and mezzo-soprano. Edmond Gondinet and Philippe Gille wrote the libretto.


Lakmé is a tragic opera set in the Orient, a place known for its beautiful flowers – hence the title of this duet. It was based on a novel by Frenchman Pierre Loti, who had traveled in the Orient and brought back stories filled with exoticism. however, this opera tells a story about tragic love between the daughter of a Hindu priest and a British military officer during the British Raj in India in the 19th century, this type of relationship was forbidden in colonial India, and her father wasn’t happy with it. The story ends with the officer falling out of love and going back to swear duty to his job, and with Lakmé, well… Killing herself with poison.

The duet takes place in the drama’s first act of the three-act opera, between characters: the principal character Lakmé (Soprano), and her servant Mallika (mezzo-soprano), as they go down to the banks of a river to gather flowers, describing the white jasmine, roses, and other flowers that adorn the riverbanks. It is popular as a concert piece and The exciting, exotic music is light, delicate and instantly beautiful, much like the flowers it depicts.

 

Flower Duet in movies, Ads…

The piece is instantly recognizable from the many times it’s been used in TV and film. You can hear it on television shows like The Simpsons or Parks and Rec. It was adapted for the theme “Aria on air” for the British Airways “face” advertisements of the 1980s by music composers Yanni and Malcolm McLaren. David Usher used a sample of the record in his 2001 song “Black Black Heart”. At the movies, it shows up all the time on soundtracks including such unlikely films as The Angry Birds Movie and Bad Santa. You can even download the number as a ringtone for your cell phone.

 

Lakmé “Flower Duet” English translation:

Under a dome of white jasmine
With the roses entwined together
On a river bank covered with flowers laughing in the morning

Gently floating on it’s charming risings
On the river’s current
On the shining waves
One hand reaches
Reaches for the bank
Where the spring sleeps and
The birds, the birds sing.

Under a dome of white jasmine
Ah! calling us
Together!

Under a dome of white jasmine
With the roses entwined together
On a river bank covered with flowers laughing in the morning
Let us descend together
Gently floating on it’s charming risings,
On the river’s current
On the shining waves,
One hand reaches,
Reaches for the bank,
Where the spring sleeps,
And the birds, the birds sing.

Under a dome of white jasmine
Ah! calling us
Together!

The Flower Duet lends itself to some pretty creative arrangements; Here’s a beautiful renditions of the Flower Duet with Sabine Devieilhe (soprano) as Lakmé & Marianne Crebassa (mezzo-soprano) as Mallika.

 



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