ÂFrench composer LÃ©o Delibes (1836-1891) wrote a series of short operettas in his early 20s. His appointment to the OpÃ©ra as accompanist and chorus-master turned his interest towards ballet. He won worldwide acclaim with his ballets CoppÃ©lia and Sylvia.
Somehow, the opera lured him back and LakmÃ© was one of them. It is a tragedy in three acts. Interestingly, Delibes, a Frenchman, based the story from his travels in Tahiti, and set it in mid-19th century India.
LakmÃ© is a love story. It contains the famous coloratura show-piece, the "Bell Song."
It was the period when IndiaÂ was undergoing battles between the strong religious sects against the oppressive British rulers. There was no way that Brahmins would let their children marry foreigners.
Composer Delibes explored this conflict using his opera Lakme as a medium to capture the serious issue of race, religion, nationality, sex and caste. The main characters are a young Englishman and an Indian's daughter. The Indian father happens to be a Hindu priest, an Orthodox.
Opera LakmÃ© is based on the novel Le Mariage by another Frenchman, Pierre Loti. In the title role, is the beautiful daughter of Nilakantha, a Hindu priest of Brahmin caste. She is very well brought up.
The hero, a young Englishman, is Gerard. One day, he enters an off-limits temple, sees LakmÃ© and is enamored by her beauty.
Despite the rage and vindictiveness of her father, Gerard refuses to leave her. She tooÂ has fallen in love with him. When her father organizes a surprise attack, she tries to help GerardÂ out. But despite her help, Gerard is wounded. He is helped by one of LakmÃ©'s loyal servants and is taken to a hideway where LakmÃ© tries to restore his health.
Realizing the hopelessness of their relationship, they drink from the same cup as a pledge for their love, an act supposed to join them together forever. Suddenly the sound of the bugle call sounds. Signal that Gerard's regiment has to leave.
What happens to their love? Below is a link to OperaÂ LakmÃ©'sÂ brief synopsis.