The only thing better than a fully staged opera is a free fully staged opera.
California Opera’s summer arts and education festival concludes this weekend with two performances of the French grand opera “Lakmé” by Léo Delibes at the Mercedes Edwards Theatre in Clovis. The production features a cast of 50, including a full ballet danced by members of California Arts Academy.
“Lakmé” is set in the British India of the mid-19th century. When a Hindu priestess falls into a forbidden love with a dashing British army officer, intercultural complications are bound to arise.
The opera isn’t performed often in this country, but the opera is well known for the “Flower Duet” between Lakmé and her slave, Mallika, and for the beautiful “Bell Song” aria (“L’Air des clochettes”) sung by Lakmé in the second act.
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The cast is led by Jamie Bonetto in the title role of Lakmé. Benjamin Brecher plays Gerard, the army officer who woos her. The principals include Gabriel Manro (who plays Gerald’s sidekick, Frederic) and Alix Jerinic, who plays Lakme’s slave.
“Lakmé” is the finale of the four-week summer festival.
- 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14; 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16
- Mercedes Edwards Theatre, 902 Fifth St., Clovis
- www.californiaopera.org, 559-225-6737
- Free, with donations accepted