At my senior recital I performed the Flower Duet from the opera Lakmé by Léo Delibes together with my friend and classmate Emelie Lindquist. The Flower Duet is one of the most well known opera pieces and it has been used frequently in both movies and advertisements over the years. I think it is an amazingly beautiful piece of music and I love the way the harmonies between the two voices are written, it is almost magical. It was a privilege to perform this together with Emelie and I really like the way our voices fit together.
The opera Lakmé first premiered on April 14th, 1883, at the Salle Favart in Paris. The setting is British India in the mid 19th-century and the story is about Lakmé, daughter of a Brahmin priest called Nilakantha.
One day when Lakmé and her slave, Mallika, are down by the river to gather flowers Lakmé encounters a British officer called Gérald. They fall in love but when Nilakantha learns of this he vows to revenge this affront to his daughter’s honour.
At a bazaar Nilakantha forces his daughter to sing to lure Gérald into identifying himself. When he falls for the trick Nilakantha stabs him and manages to wound him quite severely. Lakmé takes Gérald to a secret hideaway in the forest and nurses him back to health.
Lakmé and Gérald are set to perform vows of love to one another, but when Lakmé is away to fetch the sacred water required for the ritual Gérald’s comrade finds him and reminds him of his duty to his regiment and his country. When Lakmé returns she senses the change in Gérald and slowly comes to realize that she’s lost him. Heartbroken she decides to die with honour rather than live with dishonour and kills herself by eating the extremely poisonous datura leaf.
Below is a recording of our performance of the Flower Duet from Act 1. Enjoy!
At the piano is the ever amazing Britt Wennberg.
Emelie Lindquist’s homepage: http://emelielindquist.com/