Duo des fleurs from the opera Lakmé

The “Flower Duet” (French: Duo des fleurs / Sous le dôme épais) is a famous duet for soprano and mezzo-soprano from Léo Delibes’ opera Lakmé, first performed in Paris in 1883. The duet takes place in act 1 of the three-act opera, between characters Lakmé, the daughter of a Brahmin priest, and her servant Mallika, as they go to gather flowers by a river.

The duet is frequently used in advertisements and films and is popular as a concert piece. It was adapted for the track “Aria” in the British Airways “face” advertisements of the 1980s by Yanni and Malcolm McLaren. More recently, it has been heard in films such as Meet the Parents and True Romance and television shows including The Simpsons.

LAKME
Dôme épais le jasmin,
(Dome made of jasmine, )
A la rose s’assemble,
(Entwined with the rose together, )
Rive en fleurs frais matin,
(Both in flower, a fresh morning, )
Nous appellent ensemble.
(Call us together.)
Ah! glissons en suivant
(Ah! let us float along)
Le courant fuyant:
(On the river’s current:)
Dans l’on de frémissante,
(On the shining waves, )
D’une main nonchalante,
(Our hands reach out to)
Gagnons le bord,
(The flowering bank, )
Où l’oiseau chante,
(Where the birds sing, )
l’oiseau, l’oiseau chante.
(o the lovely birds sing.)
Dôme épais, blanc jasmin,
(Dome of white jasmine, )
Nous appellent ensemble!
(Calling us together!)

MALLIKA
Sous le dôme épais, où le blanc jasmin
(Under the dome of white jasmine, )
A la rose s’assemble,
(Entwined with the rose together, )
Sur la rive en fleurs riant au matin,
(On the bank covered with flowers, Laughing through the morning, )
Viens, descendons ensemble.
(Let us descend together.)
Doucement glissons
(Gently floating)
De son flot charmant
(on its charming swells)
Suivons le courant fuyant:
(On the river’s current:)
Dans l’onde frémissante,
(On the shining waves)
D’une main nonchalante,
(One hand reaches out to, )
Viens, gagnons le bord,
(Reaching for the bank, )
Où la source dort
(Where spring sleeps)
Et l’oiseau, l’oiseau chante.
(And the birds, the birds sing.)
Sous le dôme épais,
(Under the dome of jasmine, )
Sous le blanc jasmin,
(Under the white jasmine, )
Ah! descendons ensemble!
(Ah! calling us together!)

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