Léo Delibes’ masterpiece returns to the Opéra Comique in a production conducted by Raphaël Pichon, staged by Laurent Pelly and featuring a superb vocal ensemble. Performance available from 6 October 2022 on ARTE.
It was at the Opéra Comique, in 1883, that Lakmé was first performed. It proved an instant success for Léo Delibes’ fifth opera: the Belle Epoque audience succumbed to the heady appeal of an exotic Orient and to a plot that was resolutely contemporary for its time. Almost 150 years since its creation, the public’s infatuation with Lakmé has never waned and the opera remains one of the most famous in the French repertoire.
Lakmé takes place at the height of the British Indian Empire. Set against a background of community tensions and Hindu exuberance, Delibes’ opera tells of the love story between Lakmé (daughter of Nilakanth, a Brahmin priest and fierce opponent of the British occupation) and Gerald (a British army officer). The romance unfolds to the strains of some magnificent arias, such as the famous “Flower Duet”, but ultimately ends in tragedy.
The Opéra Comique has entrusted this new production to two key figures of the French opera scene, conductor Raphaël Pichon and director Laurent Pelly, who have surrounded themselves with a high-flying vocal ensemble that includes Sabine Devieilhe, Frédéric Antoun and Stéphane Degout. Accompanied, of course, by the Ensemble Pygmalion in the venerable orchestra pit of the Opéra Comique.