'Lakmé' is set in a province of nineteenth-century India under British rule, and the opening scene, during which this duet is heard, takes place in the beautiful garden of the temple built by the Brahmin priest, Nilakantha. He hates the British invaders (for one thing, they have forbidden him to practise his religion) and the plot hinges around the clash between this hatred and the love between his daughter Lakmé and the British officer Gérald. Before Gérald appears, Lakmé and her slave Mallika sing this duet as they prepare to bathe in the river - Roger Nichols.
Leo Delibes was born on February 21st, 1836, Saint-Germain-du-Val, now part of La Fleche (Sarthe), France; he died on January 16th, 1891, and is buried in the Cimitiere de Montmartre, Paris.
This piece was written for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano and Piano.