Clément Philibert Léo Delibes

Clément Philibert Léo Delibes
21.02.1836 - 16.01.1891


Clément Philibert Léo Delibes is a French opera composer that had wrote many ballets and other works for the stage. He was born in Saint-Germain-du-Val, which is now a part of La Flèche, France, on 21st of February in 1836. Leo’s father worked as a mailman and his grandfather was an opera singer. He developed his interest due to his mother, who was a very talented amateur musician of that time. Philibert Leo’s father died, when he was quite young. After the death of his father Philibert Léo lived with his mother under the supervision of his uncle.

Delibe Clément got his early education from the Paris Conservatoire, in 1847, from where he was taught music composition by a talented teacher, Adolphe Adam. Soon, Leo became an excellent organ player and then he started take singing and voice lessons classes.

After completing his basic education, Delibe Clément started working as a rehearsal accompanist and chorus master at the Théâtre Lyrique. In 1864, he joined Paris Opéra as a chorus master and also performed here the duties of a church organist and accompanist. Later on, Leo joined Saint-Pierre-de-Chaillot as an organist, and worked there since 1865 to 1871.

Leo’s operas impressed Tchaikovsky who encouraged him to devote his life for music. Similarly, Leo’s opera (Le Jardin Animé) which he composed in 1869, for the revival of the Joseph Mazilier, impressed him a lot.

Delibe Léo achieved true fame in 1870 due to an excellent success of his ballet namely Coppélia.

The title of this ballet referred to a mechanical dancing doll that distracts a village swain from his beloved and appears to come to life. Leo’s other beautiful ballet, which opened the new door for Leo’s fame was Sylvia, which was composed in 1876.

Throughout his life, Philibert Léo composed almost 30 operas, operettas and ballets collectively. Beside these, Leo also worked on many choral pieces. In short, due to his splendid work and naturally gifted talent Delibe Clément Philibert Léo is still remembered today in the music history.

Philibert Leo’s successful work includes Coppélia (a ballet which was written in 1870), Sylvia (another successful ballet which was written in 1876) and Lakmé (an opera composed in 1883).

Beside these, Leo also wrote a Mass, composed operettas and occasional music for the theater dances and antique fairs. According to some musicologists, the ballet in Gounod's Faust was also composed by Delibes.

Delibe Clément got married with Léontine Estelle Denain in 1871, when he was 35 years old. Initially, both Leo and Léontine Estelle Denain were spending a happy life, but later on, Denain died in 1891, after the 20 years of her marriage. She was buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre, Paris. Her sudden death depressed Leo greatly and such mood also effect on Leo’s musical composition. Whole of his life Leo miss his wife a lot and finally, this great French opera composer died on 16th of January in 1891. Delibes Leo’s last opera was the lush orientalizing Lakmé that was performed in 1883.

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