Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: Washington Concert Opera’s ‘Lakmé’

For its final concert of the season WCO has chosen Léo Delibes' seldom-heard but universally beloved opera Lakmé.

Antony Walker and the WCO Orchestra – Photo: Stan Engebretson

There are no sets, costumes, or props to distract from the operatic score or upstage the performers in any production from the Washington Concert Opera, whose motto is “it’s all about the music.”

The organization is living up to its mission of presenting internationally acclaimed musical artists in “rarely performed operatic masterpieces” with the final offering in its 35th anniversary season.

Nearly 140 years after its premiere in Paris, Léo Delibes’ seldom-heard but universally beloved opera Lakmé is best known these days for its fluttery “Flower Duet” (“Sous le dôme épais”), sung by a soprano and mezzo-soprano, which has become a staple in film and advertising, and for the famous coloratura soprano aria “Bell Song” (“Où va la jeune Hindoue?”).

Set in India in the late-19th century during the rule of the British Raj, Lakmé focuses on the forbidden love that sparks between the titular daughter of Hindu high priest Nilakantha and the trespassing British officer Gérald.

Erin Morley is Lakmé in the WCO production, overseen by the company’s Artistic Director Antony Walker, opposite Frédéric Antoun as Gérald.

Also making their debuts with the Washington Concert Opera are soloists Alfred Walker as Nilakantha, Theo Hoffman as Gérald’s fellow British officer Frédéric, and Taylor Raven as Lakmé’s servant Mallika.

Peter Russell, general director of Vocal Arts DC and co-founder of Washington Concert Opera, shares insights about Lakmé in a recording posted to the company’s website that will be adapted into an in-person pre-performance talk.

There will also be a post-performance Lakmé Cast Party hosted by the Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I St. NW.

Additionally on the company’s website is a 73-minute-long video recording of highlights from the production that kicked off the 35th season as well as the post-pandemic return to in-person performances last fall, Gioachino Rossini’s Maometto II, streaming until mid-September.

Sunday, May 22, at 6 p.m. At Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. Tickets are $44 to $114 with fees, with an additional $100 to attend the post-performance Lakmé Cast Party.

Call 202-364-5826 or visit

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