The Flower Duet (Sumi Jo & Ah-Kyung Lee)

A very beautiful rendition of “The Flower Duet” (French: Duo des fleurs / Sous le dôme épais), a famous duet for sopranos from Léo Delibes’ opera Lakmé, where the two singers’ voices perfectly complement each other. Lakmé: Sumi Jo (soprano), Mallika: Ah-Kyung Lee (mezzo-soprano). Philharmonic Orchestra Seoul, Conductor: Francesco Colombo.

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.

Clément Philibert Léo Delibes (21 February 1836 – 16 January 1891) was a French composer of ballets, operas, and other works for the stage. His most notable works include ballets Coppélia (1870) and Sylvia (1876) as well as the operas Le roi l’a dit (1873) and Lakmé (1883). He died in Paris from natural causes on 16 January 1891, at the age of 54. He was buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris.

Sumi Jo (born 22 November 1962) is a Grammy Award winning South Korean lyric coloratura soprano known for her interpretations of the bel canto repertoire.

Lyrics of the Flower Duet

French

Lakmé: Dôme épais le jasmin
Mallika: Sous le dôme épais où le blanc jasmin

L.: À la rose s’assemble,
M.: À la rose s’assemble,

L.: Rive en fleurs, frais matin,
M.: Sur la rive en fleurs, riant au matin,

L.: Nous appellent ensemble.
M.: Viens, descendons ensemble.

L.: Ah! glissons en suivant
M.: Doucement glissons; De son flot charmant

L.: Le courant fuyant;
M.: Suivons le courant fuyant;

L.: Dans l’onde frémissante,
M.: Dans l’onde frémissante,

L.: D’une main nonchalante,
M.: D’une main nonchalante,

L.: Gagnons le bord,
M.: Viens, gagnons le bord

L.: Où l’oiseau chante,
M.: Où la source dort.

L.: l’oiseau, l’oiseau chante.
M.: Et l’oiseau, l’oiseau chante.

L.: Dôme épais, blanc jasmin,
M.: Sous le dôme épais, Sous le blanc jasmin,

L.: Nous appellent ensemble!
M.: Ah! descendons ensemble!

L.: Mais, je ne sais quelle crainte subite
s’empare de moi.
Quand mon père va seul à leur ville maudite,
Je tremble, je tremble d’effroi!

M.: Pour que le Dieu Ganeça le protège,
Jusqu’à l’étang où s’ébattent joyeux
Les cygnes aux ailes de neige,
Allons cueillir les lotus bleus.

L.: Oui, près des cygnes aux ailes de neige,
Allons cueillir les lotus bleus.

L: Dôme épais le jasmin
M: Sous le dôme épais où le blanc jasmin

L.: Nous appellent ensemble!
M.: Ah! descendons ensemble!

English Translation

Thick dome of jasmine
Under the dense canopy where the white jasmine,

Blends with the rose,
That blends with the rose,

Bank in bloom, fresh morning,
On the flowering bank, laughing in the morning,

Call us together.
Come, let us drift down together.

Ah! Let’s glide along
Let us gently glide along; For its enchanting flow

The fleeing current;
Let us follow the fleeing current;

On the rippling surface,
On the rippling surface,

With a nonchalant hand,
With a nonchalant hand,

Let’s go to the shore,
Come, let’s go to the shore

Where the bird sings,
Where the spring sleeps.

the bird, the bird sings.
And the bird, the bird sings.

Thick dome, white jasmine,
Under the dense canopy, Under the white jasmine,

Call us together!
Ah! Let’s drift down together!

But, an eerie feeling of distress
overcomes me.
When my father goes into their accursed city
I tremble, I tremble with fright!

In order for him to be protected by Ganesh
To the pond where joyfully play
The snow-winged swans
Let us pick blue lotuses.

Yes, near the swans with wings of snow,
And pick blue lotuses.

Thick dome of jasmine
Under the dense canopy where the white jasmine,

Together call us!
Ah! Let’s drift down together!

Singable English

‘Neath the dome, the jasmine
‘Neath the leafy dome, where the jasmine white

To the roses comes greeting,
To the roses comes greeting,

By flower banks, fresh and bright,
On the flow’rd bank, gay in morning light,

Come, and join we their meeting.
Come, and join we their meeting.

Ah! we’ll glide with the tide,
Slowly on we’ll glide floating with the tide,

On we’ll ride away;
On the stream we’ll ride away;

Through wavelets shimm’ring brightly,
Through wavelets shimm’ring brightly,

Carelessly rowing lightly,
Carelessly rowing lightly,

Reach we the steeps
We’ll reach soon the steeps

Where the birds warble,
Where the fountain sleeps.

warble, the birds sprightly.
Where warble the birds sprightly.

‘Neath the dome rowers unite,
‘Neath the leafy dome, where the jasmine white,

Come and join we their meeting!
Come and join we their meeting!

But, why my heart’s swift terror invested,
Doth not yet appear,
When my father ‘lone goes to your city detested,
I tremble, I tremble with fear.

May the god, Ganesa, keep him from dangers,
Till he arrives at the pool just in view,
Where wild swans, those snowy wing’d strangers,
Come to devour the lotus blue.

Yes, where the wild swans, those snowy wing’d strangers,
Come to feed on lotus blue.

‘Neath the dome, jasmines white
‘Neath the leafy dome, where the jasmine white

Come and join we their meeting!
Ah! come join we their meeting!

Sources

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