The earliest compositions of this highly gifted musician were comic chansons and chansonnettes published in newspapers and journals between 1850 and 1860. The composer’s links to the charming superficialities of the Second Empire were thus early established, although his great masterpieces, the ballets Coppélia
date from the early years of the Third Republic. His masterpiece was the opera Lakmé
, first performed in 1883. The twenty-seven mélodies of Delibes traverse a lengthy career. His poets include Musset, Coppée, Hugo, Sully Prudhomme and a considerable reliance on the ubiquitous Armand Silvestre, a writer whom Delibes shares with Fauré and Massenet among other composers.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006