In his early youth, Thomas Ambroise (1811 -1896) already got instruction on piano and violin by his parents, they both were music teachers. He studied piano and composition at the Conservatoire in Paris.
Ambroise enjoyed his greatest successes in the Opera Comique, a theatre which was quite popular with the 19th century Parisian bourgeoisie. His opera’s Mignon and Hamlet established his name outside this genre. Later he became a pedagogue of music and the director of the Paris Conservatoire.
Airs de Ballet are melodies that are used as interlude between for instance the various acts of a ballet. Below you will find three examples from the ballet The Gipsy by Thomas Ambroise. The ballet is a three-act play based on a libretto after the book Novelas ejemplares: La gitanilla by Miguel de Cervantes, the author of the famous Don Quijote alias Don Quichotte. The then celebrated dancer Fanny Elssler was the prima donna of this ballet.
Usually ballets have an orchestral accompaniment. This does not fit on the guitar, so this piece is a simplified arrangement which appeared in a 19thy century guitar magazine.