Léo Delibes was born in Saint-Germain-du-Val, France. He was an opera and ballet composer and influenced the likes of Tchaikovsky.
His mother was a talented amateur musician and the daughter of an opera singer and his father was a mail man.
Like many of his fellow composers he studied at the Paris Conservatoire. He was fortunate enough to study under the influence of Adolphe Adam. In 1881 he became professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire after being an accompanist at the Paris Opera and Théâtre-Lyrique.
Delibes initial work was comic operas – he did this for fourteen years often writing for a theatre run by Jacques Offenbach. In 1866 he worked with Ludwig Minkus in the ballet La Source which led to his successful commission for his famous ballets Coppélia (1870) and Sylvia (1876). Not wanting to be typecast in ballet Delibes turned his hand to opera, but didn’t experience the successes of the ballet with his comical opera Le Roi l’a dit or the more serious Jean de Nivelle, however in 1883 he premiered the opera Lakmé which was his masterpiece. Lakmé enjoyed successes around Europe.
Lakmé is now known to a wider audience due to it’s use in advertisements. Click on the link below to listen to this beautiful piece of music.