Lakmé is the brilliant result of the remarkable success enjoyed by American singer Marie van Zandt, equally at ease in Mignon by Ambroise Thomas as in Mozart’s masterpieces and Italian bel canto. During her short career, her unique vocal agility aroused the jealous rage of her colleagues…


Libretto by Edmond Gondinet et Philippe Gille

In 19th century British India, Lakmé, a young Brahmin priestess, is in love with Gerald, who is promised to an Englishwoman. Her father, Nilakantha, cannot bear this sacrilege and seeks to murder his daughter’s lover. Wounded, Gerald is hidden in the forest by Lakmé who understands that their love is impossible. She sanctifies him with sacred water and then swallows a fatal poison.

Famous for the unforgettable high-pitched vocals in Air des clochettes, the title role pitches a sunny, flexible and seductive character despite a hostile, multi-cultural and colonial environment heralded by Madama Butterfly by Puccini. With her famous retort “Mon ciel n’est pas le tien. Le Dieu que tu révères n’est pas celui que je connais” (My heaven is not your own, the God you worship blindly is not the one whom I have known), Lakmé movingly expresses the clash of cultures beyond which love persists as the only true value of humanity.

Nowadays, Léo Delibes is especially renowned for Lakmé and his ballets, Coppélia and Sylvia. Like his contemporaries, he was fond of the flamboyant exoticism which fantasized about the distant East in the tradition of Les Pêcheurs de Perles by Bizet. Lakmé met with immense success on its first performance at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1883 and went on to enjoy impressive and unfailing international triumph. This new production does justice to a superb opera that has been absent from our stage for more than twenty years, with the most recent performance at the ORW dating back to 1994.

  • Last performance at the ORW January 1994
  • New production Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège


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