Diane and Actaeon – Pugni – Male Variation and Coda


Male variation and Coda from Diane and Actaeon

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The ballet “Diana and Actaeon” is a dramatic retelling of the ancient Greek myth of the hunter Actaeon and the goddess Diana. In the myth, Actaeon stumbled upon Diana and her nymphs while they were bathing in a forest pool and was turned into a stag as punishment for seeing the goddess naked. The ballet brings this story to life through a combination of music, dance, and elaborate costumes.

Another key aspect of “Diana and Actaeon” is its use of music. The score, composed specifically for the ballet, is an integral part of the performance and helps to set the mood and atmosphere of the piece. The music ranges from playful and light to dark and intense, reflecting the changing emotions of the characters as the story unfolds.


Cesare Pugni was an Italian composer of ballet music, primarily known for his work in the 19th century. He was born in Genoa, Italy in 1802 and began his career as a violinist and composer at the Teatro Carlo Felice in his hometown. In 1829, he moved to Paris, France where he worked as a composer for several ballet companies, including the Paris Opera Ballet.

Pugni is considered to be one of the most important and prolific composers of ballet music in the 19th century. He composed music for over 50 ballets, many of which were choreographed by the famous ballet master, Jules Perrot. Some of his most famous works include “La Esmeralda” (1844), “La Fille du Danube” (1845), and “Le Papillon” (1862).

Pugni’s music was characterized by its melodic and harmonic richness, as well as its virtuosity and technical demands. His compositions were also notable for their use of traditional Italian rhythms and melodies, which were a departure from the more formal and classical style of French ballet music.

Pugni died in 1870 in London, England, where he had moved in 1864.

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