Monday, October 24, 2011

Retrospective: Cradle of Life's operatic track, "Flower Duet"

"Tea is for Guests"

A notable absentee from the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life (2003) commercial motion picture soundtracks is a piece credited as "Flower Duet (from Lakmé)". The intoxicating soprano vocals play during the opening of the chapter "Tea is for Guests", as Croft Manor is brought into view and Lara and Henry are seen sparring.

This rendition of the popular number is performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, sample courtesy of Extreme Music (plc.), and is composed by 19th century French trio Leo Delibes, Edmond Gondinet and Phillipe Gille for the 1st act of the famous opera "Lakmé" (first performed in 1883).

A version of the track is available for purchase on RPO's digital compilation Opera's Greatest Moments (iTunes/Amazon), though this a revised entity and not the exact recording heard in The Cradle of Life. The original track from the film is available for streaming (and members only download) via Extreme Music's website:

Featured countless times in popular culture, "Flower Duet" made its first film presence in the 1983 horror The Hunger, as well as featuring post-Cradle in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Empreror (2008). 75 years after the death of the original contributing artists, the piece is lapsed of any copyright and is royalty free. Variations across performances of the opera can be found online.

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