Jacques Offenbach

1819 - 1880



German-born French composer Jacques Offenbach was born on June 20th 1819 in Cologne. His fame as a composer stems from his writing almost 100 operettas in the 1850s to 1870s and his works set many precedents that influenced many operetta composers that followed, especially Johann Strauss II and Arthur Sullivan. Many of his works were revived during the 20th century and some continue to be revived in the modern day. He began studies at the Paris Conservatory aged 14, but found this unrewarding, so left. Between 1835 and 1855 he earned a living as a cellist, performing to substantial international acclaim, as well as conducting. His real wish was, however, to compose comic opera. After the Opéra-Comique in Paris had shown no interest in his works, he leased a theatre himself on the Champs-Élysées where he performed a number of smaller scale works that saw moderate success. His first full-length operetta came in 1858 and it was very well received and remains one of his most successful and popular works today. In total, he produced around 18 full-length operettas as well as many other single-act works. He remained largely popular through much of his career, excluding a brief spell in the 1870s. Due to the Franco-Prussian war, Offenbach fell out of favour due to his German birth and imperial connections. One the war ended however, he restored his popularity through a series of new works and revivals of many older ones. In his last few years, he worked particularly hard to finish The Tales of Hoffmann and managed this, but unfortunately died on October 5th 1880 before the work was premiered, never seeing its immense success and its entrance into the standard repertory.


22nd August 2024

Les Violons du Roy
Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Salle de Concert du Domaine Forget, Saint-Irénée, QC, Canada