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OFFENBACH, Jacques (1819-1880)

Offenbach, who was of German Jewish origins and the son of a cantor in a Cologne synagogue, initially wanted to pursue a career as a virtuoso cellist. The gifted young man was soon sent to the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied under Vaslin for a year before leaving. He subsisted by playing in the orchestra of the Opéra-Comique for two years, while regularly attending various salons. Several pieces written for his instrument date from this difficult period (including a Military Concerto) as well as several romances. His growing interest in the stage met with a less than favourable reaction at this point in his career, despite his repeated attempts. He consoled himself by composing incidental music for the Comédie-Française, where he was musical director from 1850 to 1855. It was at this date that he decided to form his own theatre—Les Bouffes-Parisiens—situated not far from the Great Exhibition: its opening was an immediate success. During his lifetime, Offenbach composed more than one hundred important works which enjoyed varying degrees of success, many of which were and still are numbered among the great classics of opéra comique and opéra bouffe, a genre which he made respectable. His more noteworthy operas include Orphée aux enfers (1858), La Belle Hélène (1864), La Vie parisienne( 1866), La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein (1867), Les Brigands (1869), La Périchole (1874), La Fille du tambour-major (1879) and, most importantly, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, the fantastical work which was his posthumous masterpiece.

    Images - 174
  • Jacques Offenbach
  • Jacques Offenbach à 25 ans
  • Jacques Offenbach à 40 ans
  • Jacques Offenbach à New York
  • Jacques Offenbach à Vienne
  • Jacques Offenbach âgé à son bureau (gravure d'Édouard Detaille)
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    Works - 53
  • 66 !, Le (Pittaud de Forges & Laurencin / Offenbach)
  • Barbe-Bleue (Meilhac & L. Halévy / Offenbach)
  • Barkouf (Scribe & Boisseaux / Offenbach)
  • Bavards, Les (Nuitter / Offenbach)
  • Belle Hélène, La (Meilhac & L. Halévy / Offenbach)
  • Belle Lurette (Blum & Toché / Offenbach)
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    Themes - 4
  • Genre – Chanson et opérette sous la Troisième République
  • Strings – The Romantic cello
  • Lieux de musique – les Bouffes-Parisiens
  • Opera – Opera in France in the nineteenth century
  • Symposia - 2
  • The Fantastic in French Romantic Opera (2009)
  • L'Opéra-Comique, trois cents ans de création (2015)
  • Studies - 7
  • Condé, Gérard – La Périchole, step by step
  • Condé, Gérard – Maître Péonilla: opéra-bouffe or opéra-comique?
  • Dratwicki, Alexandre – Maître Péronilla: an introduction
  • Jardin, Étienne – The voice of commerce
  • Yon, Jean-Claude – Jacques Offenbach et Jules Verne : rendez-vous manqués
  • Yon, Jean-Claude – Le Pont des Soupirs : mélodrame burlesque et rivalités politiques dans la lagune
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    Librettos - 3
  • Madame Favart (Duru & Chivot)
  • Maître Péronilla (Jacques Offenbach)
  • Voyage dans la lune, Le (Vanloo, Leterrier & Mortier)
  • Press articles -  50
  • Annales du théâtre et de la musique, 1878 [Maître Péronilla d’Offenbach]
  • Journal des débats politiques et littéraires, 19 novembre 1866 [La Vie parisienne d’Offenbach]
  • Journal des débats, 18 mars 1878 [Maître Péronilla d’Offenbach]
  • Journal des débats, 8 novembre 1875 [Le Voyage dans la lune d’Offenbach]
  • Journal officiel de la République française, 1er novembre 1875 [Le Voyage dans la lune d’Offenbach]
  • La Chronique des arts et de la curiosité, 6 novembre 1875 [Le Voyage dans la lune d’Offenbach]
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