Clément Philibert Léo Delibes

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Delibes, Clément Philibert Léo


Born Feb. 21, 1836, at St.-Germain-du-Val, Sarthe; died Jan. 16, 1891, in Paris. French composer; member of the Institut de France (1884).

Delibes was educated at the Paris Conservatory, where A. Adam was his teacher in composition. From 1853 he worked as an accompanist in opera theaters and as a church organist. From 1865 to 1872 he was the second chorus master at the Grand Opera, and in 1881 he became professor at the Paris Conservatory. Delibes began his career as composer in 1855 with the operetta Deux Sous de charbon. He gained recognition for the ballet La Source, which he composed in collaboration with L. Minkus in 1866, and for the divertissement for the revival of Adam’s ballet The Corsair (1867). His best-known ballets are Coppélia, or the Girl With the Enamel Eyes (1870) and Sylvia, or Diana’s Nymph (1876, produced in the USSR with a new libretto, under the title Fadetta).

Delibes endeavored to create new types of musical-choreographic presentations and to bring new imagery and meaning to the ballet. He also composed operas, operettas, theater music, and art songs. His best opera is Lakmé (1883), which continued the tradition of French lyric opera. Delibes’s music is distinguished by its melodiousness and elegance.


Frantsuzskaia muzyka vtoroi poloviny XIX veka. Sb. perevodnykh rabot, Moscow, 1938.
Davidson, I. “Balety Deliba.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1961, no. 2, pp. 79–83.
Curzon, H. L. Delibes, sa vie et ses oeuvres. Paris, 1926.
Coquis, A. L. Delibes. Paris [1957].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.