Léo Delibes [1836–1891]
It is not often that an opera enjoys a worldwide surge of popularity a hundred years on from its premiere. The trigger in the case of Léo Delibes’s LAKME was the inclusion of the »flower duet« in a vampire film, »The Hunger«, which even led to the song entering the pop charts. The duet between the eponymous heroine and her servant, which plays in the background to a love scene between Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon, came to outstrip in popularity the work’s two hitherto best-known numbers.
The »bell song« and the lilting love duet »C’est le dieu de la jeunesse«. Yet LAKME does not simply attest to Delibes’s talent for writing catchy tunes, as evinced in his triumphant ballets SYLVIA and COPPELIA; it is also one of the finest examples of exoticism in music. The tale of a young Hindu priestess, who falls in love with a colonial officer from England and meets death as a result, makes for great opera and still tugs at heartstrings today.
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Leo Delibes (Komponist/in)
Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin