Boosey & Hawkes Composer News

Search Catalogue


Jacques Offenbach

Jacques Offenbach Photo: Portrait by F Grünewald (1881)
1819 - 1880


English     Deutsch     Español    

Born the son of a Jewish cantor in Cologne * Aged 14, Jacques Offenbach begins cello study at the Paris Conservatory * After a successful career as a cellist shows increasing interest in music theatre * Studies with Fromental Halévy * In 1850 appointed music director at the Comédie-Francaise, and in 1855 founds his own theatre, the Bouffes-Parisiens * Great success with buffonesque one-act works (Les Deux Aveugles, Ba-Ta-Clan, Croquefer) * His first full-time opéra-bouffon Orphée aux Enfers signifies his international breakthrough * He creates the genre of the satirical music theatre, later called 'Offenbachiade' * After exploring the ballet (Le Papillon, 1860), the opéra-comique (Barkouf 1861) and the great Romantic opera (Les Fées du Rhin, 1864), Offenbach produces a number of comic, triumphantly successful works in cooperation with the congenial pair of libretto writers, Meilhac and Halévy: La Belle Hélène, La Vie parisienne, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, La Périchole and Les Brigands, all composed after 1864, conquer stages around the world * His popularity as a master of popular music theatre has prevented the acknowledgement of his eminent talent in the composition of 'serious' music: masterpieces such as Fantasio (after de Musset, 1872) and Les Fées du Rhin are only now gaining the appreciation they deserve * Offenbach dies on 5 October, 1880, shortly before the first performance of his unfinished opera, Les Contes d'Hoffmann

Works by Jacques Offenbach include:
Orphée aux Enfers, opéra-bouffon and opéra-féerie versions (1858, 1874)
Les Fées du Rhin, grand opéra romantique, 1864
La Belle Hélène, opéra-bouffe (1864)
La Vie parisienne, opéra-bouffe, versions 1866 (Paris, Vienna), 1867 (Bruxelles), 1874 (Paris)
Barbe-Bleu, opéra-bouffe (1866)
La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, opéra-bouffe (1867)
La Périchole, opéra-bouffe (1868, 1874)
Les Brigands, opéra-bouffe (1869, 1878)
Fantasio, opéra-comique (1872)

The Offenbach Edition Keck – OEK – makes the better-known repertoire works as well as numerous unknown treasures by the "Mozart of the Champs-Elysées" integrally and critically available for the first time
Email Newsletters

Sign up for news updates and offers via email

Listen To Offenbach
Shop for Offenbach

Sheet Music, CDs, downloads


Explore our library of 1500 online scores