Lakmé : Work information

(Clément Philibert) Léo Delibes ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Carl Davis (Conductor)

This work

Work name
Work number
1882-01-01 02:00:00

This recording

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Matthew Dilley
Recording date

Track listing

  • Act II - Aria: 'Ou va la jeune hindoue..' 7:58 min
  • Act I - Duet: 'Viens, Mallika...' 6:06 min


LakmeDelibes' operatic masterpiece, was first performed at the Opera-Comique in Paris on 14 April 1883. The only Delibes opera to retain a constant place in the repertoire today, Lakme is a strongly dramatic work that makes wonderful use of Delibes' considerable melodic gifts.

Set in India in the nineteenth century, the opera tells the story of Gerald, a British officer, and his tragic love for Lakme, the daughter of a Hindu priest. Famous excerpts include the Flower Duet (Viens Mallika), sung by Lakme and her servant Mallika, and the virtuosic Bell Song (Air des Clochettes).

The Composers

(Clément Philibert) Léo Delibes

Delibes was born in France in 1836, and studied at the Paris Conservatory of Music.  Although he acheived no real distinction while there, he began to develop his style, and after graduating became famous as a master of ballet with his second work, Coppelia (1870).

It was not long until Delibes began composing opera and operetta.  Le Roi l'a dit (1873) was his first opera, performed at the Opera-Comique.  Jean di Nivelle (1880) and Lakme (1883) brought Delibes to the forefront of French stage composers.  Lakme was tremendously popular at the time, for the Far Eastern romance and mystery in its tale of love between a British officer and the daughter of an Indian priest.  Two of its songs, the Flower Duet and the Bell Song, are particularly well known today.  After his opera period, Delibes wrote a lot of religious music, including Les Filles de Cadiz.

Delibes was appointed professor of composition at the Paris Conservatory in 1881, and in 1884 was made a member of the Institut de France.  His final opera Kassya was finished by Massenet after Delibes' death in 1891.  His music is still frequently heard, attractive for its vivid melody and rich orchestration which highlights the voice beautifully.

- MIDI FILE - from "Lakme": Flower Duet (1'08'')