Watch the saxophone solos in Léo Delibes ballet, “Sylvia”

The 3rd Act set at the Temple of Diana for Sylvia, ca. 1876

In 2019, the Wiener Staatsoper ballet staged Sylvia by Léo Delibes. This classic Romantic styled staging harkens back to the premiere of the ballet at the Palais Garnier in its opening season 1876. The ballet was poorly received when it premiered, but with the strength of its score and new stagings and choreography, the ballet grew in popularity throughout the 20th century. The Wiener Staatsoper takes great care to bring that French Romantic vision to life. I want to highlight two saxophone solos, both in the 3rd act.

Later in the 3rd act, the saxophone returns for a short solo during the “Divertissement.” The saxophone solo starts at 0:57 in the video below.

For more information on this ballet, check out my entry on Léo Delibes. The video I have linked under that entry only has “Barcarolle,” the “Divertissement” is cut from that production. Finding this video really showcases the ballet as it was supposed to be performed. This is one of the best example of how the saxophone was used in the 19th century ballets. If you want to watch the entire ballet, you can find it on Medici TV. There is a subscription required, but check and see if your library subscribes to the channel. Sylvia is streaming until Nov. 30, 2023.

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Published by Mary Huntimer

Saxophonist, teacher, opera and silent movie enthusiast. All opinions are my own.

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