February 7, 2007

…but I do know that every time I’ve heard this piece played – whether it be on some British Airways commercial, or in a movie (among others, it was in The American President, a movie I’ve always been fond of, BTW), or on some classical music station, I’ve always wondered: what the heck is the name of that tune, and what opera did it come from?

…BTW, good luck if you ever hear a piece you really like on a classical music station and try to get the name of it from the DJ. For one thing, if it isn’t some obscure title like “Rondelet in A Flat Minor on a Wednesday Evening While Eating Danish in Prague” or something like that, he/she always speaks so softly and soothingly, as if we’re all part of some est graduate program. Just once, I’d like to hear a classical station where the DJ says something like:

OK, cats and chicks! On with the platters that matter. Here’s a golden oldie from the 17th century by that old master Ludwig von what’s-his-name! – you know, like the dog in that Charles Grodin movie! Right here on YOUR station for ALL the best classical, W-Classic-L-S! Comin’ at ya!…”

…but I digress. Anyways, this morning I’m lounging in bed when that tune comes on the radio, and, since the classical station here in Phoenix provides a playlist you can refer back to at any time for just that reason, after noting the time it was played I was able to find out (and maybe I’m the last person in the world to know this) that the piece is called “Flower Duet” from Leo Delibes’ opera, “Lakme”. In the opera – a love story set in 19th century India (one that, BTW, like every other opera I’ve heard of [except, I think, “The Nutcracker”] ends tragically), this duet is sung by the lead (Lakme) and her serving girl, Mallika, as they prepare to bathe in the sacred stream that runs in front of their house. (Kinda erotic, dontcha think?)

And, come to find out, not only is the music beautiful, but the lyrics (sung in French), when translated into English, are equally gentle, picturesque, and moving as well:

Under a thick dome of white jasmine
With the roses entwined together
On a river bank covered with flowers laughing in the morning

Gently floating on its charming risings
On the river’s current
On the shining waves
One hand reaches
Reaches for the bank
Where the spring sleeps and
The bird, the bird sings.

Under a thick dome of white jasmine
Ah! calling us

Under a thick dome of white jasmine
With the roses entwined together
On a river bank covered with flowers laughing in the morning
Let us descend together
Gently floating on its charming risings,
On the river’s current
On the shining waves,
One hand reaches,
Reaches for the bank,
Where the spring sleeps,
And the bird, the bird sings.

Under a thick dome of white jasmine
Ah! calling us

Like most people, I guess, I’m not much for opera, but this truly is a lovely piece, and, given that the opera it comes from is one rarely performed nowadays (if at all), if you want to hear it in its entirety, you have to buy the performance on CD. The one KBAQ played this morning is from this one, and I can tell you that the performance is enchanting.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:29 | Comments (3)
  1. Haha-I’m laughing at the thought of someone listening to classical music(which I do from time to time) and then getting HEY CATS! at the end of the piece.

    BTW, I can assure you that you are not the last person in the world to know the name of that piece.

    Comment by Dave E. — February 7, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

  2. Thanks Dave – actually, for some weird reason I thought it was from La Boheme, and actually made arrangements several years ago to go see it, thinking I’d hear that song. My friend didn’t show, so I didn’t have to spring for tickets, and boy, that’s a good thing. I would have been mucho po’d!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — February 7, 2007 @ 6:15 pm

  3. Does Boehemian Rhapsody by Queen count as opera?

    If so, that is the only opera selection I have ever listened to.

    Comment by Dave Richard — February 7, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

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