Aria: Fantaisie aux divins mensonges

Composer: Delibes Léo

Opera: Lakmé

Role: Gérald (Tenor)

Download free scores: "Fantaisie aux divins mensonges" PDF
E' la solita storia (Lamento di Federico). Federico. L'arlesiana. CileaAh! mes amis, quel jour de fête!...Pour mon âme. Tonio. La fille du régiment. DonizettiSento la gioja, ch'in sen mi brilla. Amadigi. Amadigi di Gaula. HandelDepuis longtemps j'habitais cette chambre. Julien. Louise. CharpentierUn dì, all'azzurro spazio. Andrea Chénier. Andrea Chénier. GiordanoSe fedele mi brama il regnante. Ezio. Ezio. HandelSe il tuo duol. Arbaces. Idomeneo. MozartTu che a Dio spiegasti l'ali. Edgardo. Lucia di Lammermoor. DonizettiDi te mi rido. Ruggiero. Alcina. HandelVesti la giubba. Canio. Pagliacci. Leoncavallo
Lakmé is an opera in three acts by Léo Delibes to a French libretto by Edmond Gondinet and Philippe Gille.
The score, written from 1881 to 1882, was first performed on 14 April 1883 by the Opéra-Comique at the (second) Salle Favart in Paris, with stage decorations designed by Auguste Alfred Rubé and Philippe Chaperon (act 1), Eugène Carpezat and (Joseph-)Antoine Lavastre (act 2), and Jean-Baptiste Lavastre (act 3). Set in British India in the mid-19th century, Lakmé is based on Théodore Pavie's [fr] story "Les babouches du Brahmane" and novel Le Mariage de Loti by Pierre Loti. Gondinet proposed it as a vehicle for the American soprano Marie van Zandt.
The opera includes the popular Flower Duet ("Sous le dôme épais") for a soprano and mezzo-soprano, performed in act 1 by Lakmé, the daughter of a Brahmin priest, and her servant Mallika. The name Lakmé is the French rendition of Sanskrit Lakshmi, the name of the Hindu Goddess of Wealth. The opera's most famous aria is the "Bell Song" ("L'Air des clochettes") in act 2.
Lakmé combines many orientalist aspects that were popular at the time: an exotic location, similar to other French operas of the period, such as Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles and Massenet's Le roi de Lahore, a fanatical priest, mysterious Hindu rituals, and "the novelty of exotically colonial English people".
Following its premiere at the Opéra Comique in 1883, Lakmé reached its 500th performance there on 23 June 1909 and 1,000th on 13 May 1931. A series of performances took place at the Théâtre Gaîté Lyrique Paris in 1908, with Alice Verlet, David Devriès and Félix Vieuille.
The Hindus go to perform their rites in a sacred Brahmin temple under the high priest, Nilakantha. Nilakantha's daughter Lakmé (which derives from the Sanskrit Lakshmi), and her servant Mallika, are left behind and go down to the river to gather flowers where they sing together the "Flower Duet". As they approach the water at the river bank, Lakmé removes her jewellery and places it on a bench. Two British officers, Frederic and Gérald (Delibes uses Frenchified versions of the then common English names Frederick and Gerald), arrive nearby on a picnic with two British girls and their governess. The British girls see the jewellery and, impressed with it, request sketches of it; Gérald volunteers to stay and make sketches of the jewellery. He spots Lakmé and Mallika returning and hides. Mallika leaves Lakmé for a while; while alone Lakmé sees Gérald and, frightened by the foreigner's incursion, cries out for help. However, simultaneously, she is also intrigued by him and so she sends away those who had responded to her call for help when they come to her aid. Lakmé and Gérald begin to fall in love with each other. Nilakantha returns and learns of the British officer's trespassing, vowing revenge on him for what he assumes to be an affront to Lakmé's honour.
At a busy bazaar, Nilakantha forces Lakmé to sing (the Bell Song) in order to lure the trespasser into identifying himself. When Gérald steps forward, Lakmé faints, thus giving him away. Nilakantha stabs Gérald, wounding him. Lakmé takes Gérald to a secret hideout in the forest, where she lovingly nurses him back to health.
While Lakmé fetches sacred water that will confirm the vows of the lovers, Fréderic, Gérald's fellow British officer, appears before Gérald and reminds him of his military duty to his regiment. Gérald sadly accepts that his colleague is correct. After Lakmé returns, she senses the change in Gérald and realises that she has lost him. She dies with honour, rather than live with dishonour, killing herself by eating the poisonous datura leaf.
In conventional form and pleasant style, but given over to the fashion for exoticism, the delicate orchestration and melodic richness earned Delibes a success with audiences. The passionate elements of the opera are given warm and expressive music, while the score in general is marked by subtle harmonic colours and deft orchestration. Oriental colour is used in prayers, incantations, dances and the scene in the market.
The act 2 aria "Où va la jeune Hindoue?" (the Bell Song) has long been a favourite recital piece for coloratura sopranos. (Recordings of it in Italian, as "Dov'e l'indiana bruna?", also exist.)
In recent years, the Flower Duet in act 1 has become familiar more widely because of its use in advertisements, in particular a British Airways commercial, as well as in films. The aria sung by Lakme and Mallika was adapted for the theme "Aria on air" for the British Airways "face" advertisements of the 1980s by music composers Yanni and Malcolm McLaren.