A Duet for Flowers

Léo Delibes (1836 –1891) was a French composer, best known for his ballets and operas.  His works include the ballets Coppélia and Sylvia, both of which were important in the development of modern ballet.

Delibes achieved critical and commercial success in 1883 with his opera Lakmé. Its somewhat unlikely subject was the contemporary British occupation of India. In Act 1, there is a duet for a soprano and mezzo-soprano, performed by Lakmé, the daughter of a Brahmin priest and her servant Mallika.

I bet everyone has heard part of this duet but not many know its origin. I didn’t until a few days ago. In the YouTube video I’ve been playing, the music becomes very recognizable around one minute in. The singers, Sabine Devieilhe and Marianne Crebassa, revisit that part at the end (it’s from Devieilhe’s 2017 album Mirages).

Unfortunately, the video won’t play if I put it here, so you’ll have to follow this link to see and hear their brief performance. It’s worth the trip.

PS: Kick all the Republicans out in November.

O brave new world, That has such people in’t!

While struggling a bit with the second law of thermodynamics and “A Guide to Reality, Part 6”, I stumbled upon the video below. It’s reminiscent of the performance by Susan Boyle, the unknown Scottish woman who so surprised the vast majority of us when we heard her sing for the first time. To say that this performance by Amira Willighagen, a 9-year old Dutch girl, is more surprising than Susan Boyle’s is an understatement. 

She tells the judges that she learned to sing by listening to videos on YouTube. Amazing.

PS – It would be a terrible shame if this turned out to be a hoax. The world should have such people in it.

The Mikado by Willliam Schwenk Gilbert

This is the wonderful libretto to the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Mikado. It makes for a very short book, only 57 pages long. And, of course, it would ordinarily be read while listening to Sir Arthur Sullivan’s stunningly melodic music. 

I saw The Mikado once and didn’t much enjoy it because it was hard to understand the dialog and the lyrics. Having the libretto makes a very big difference. The plot is extremely silly, but the words are extremely clever. A lot of the jokes are still funny. My only complaint is that some of the songs are too short.  (6/7/11)