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Le Roi de Lahore Synopsis

Act 1

The citizens of Lahore gather at the temple to pray for divine protection against the Moslem invaders, and receive encouragement from Timour, the high priest. Scindia, minister of King Alim is in love with Sita, his niece, who is also a priestess at the temple. Scindia asks Timour to release Sita from her vows, and points out that she has been meeting a young man. In Indra's sanctuary, Scindia gets Sita to admit her interest in this young stranger, but she refuses to name him; Scindia accuses her of sacrilege, and the priests demand that she sing the evening prayer to lure the young man. A secret door opens and a young man appears: it is King Alim who confesses his love and asks for Sita's hand in marriage. Timour demands that the king expiate his actions by leading his army against the Muslims. Scindia schemes to arrange an ambush and kill the king.

Act 2

At the king's encampment in the Thol desert, where Sita has followed and pitched camp near the king as she awaits his return from the fighting. The soldiers have been routed. Scindia gets them to join with him to usurp the throne. Wounded, Alim dies in Sita's arms.

Act 3

In the Paradise of Indra there are songs and dances by the apsaras. Alim's soul arrives but he admits that he misses the presence of Sita. Indra takes pity and agrees to restore Alim to life - as the humblest of beings - for as long as Sita lives.

Act 4

Alim awakens back in Lahore at the entrance to the royal palace where the crowd is gathering for Scindia's coronation. Scindia enters, on his way to persuade Sita to marry him, but a vengeful vision blocks his path. Alim appears to the onlookers like a poor madman, but Timour say that he must be a visionary inspired by god.

Act 5

Sita has sought refuge in Indra's sanctuary having fled forced marriage with Scindia. Alim is admitted to the sanctuary by Timour and the lovers meet again. Scindia arrives and threatens them both; Sita stabs herself and at once Alim again becomes a spirit, thus foiling the designs of Scindia. Sita and Alim are united in celestial happiness.