Boosey & Hawkes Composer News

Search Catalogue


Offenbach scores of Tales of Hoffmann rediscovered

(March 2016)

OffenbachKeckRediscovery2.jpg Missing scores of The Tales of Hoffmann have been rediscovered by musicologist Jean-Christophe Keck, within a treasure trove of Offenbach materials.

After thirty years of intense research and thanks to the precious help of the Offenbach family, Jean-Christophe Keck - the leading musicologist specialising in the composer - has recovered and identified the autograph orchestral scores of the first two acts of Les Contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann), namely the Prologue and the Olympia act. These sources, believed to be lost, now complete the collection of original material for this fantastic opera, Offenbach's true musical testament which – despite the complicated situation of sources – is established among the most performed works in the operatic repertoire. This major discovery is of the utmost importance both for musicology and for lyric theatre in general. It will help in providing answers to lingering questions about the work and will finally permit the creation of a definitive edition of this masterpiece of the French repertoire.

The labours of Jean-Christophe Keck are not limited only to Les Contes d'Hoffmann. Collaborating with the different branches of Offenbach's descendants, there are many hundreds of works which, little by little, have been rediscovered across a span of thirty years, extending over the full range of Offenbach's output: operas such as La Duchesse d'Albe and Les Fées du Rhin, comic operas including L'Alcove and the complete manuscripts of Fantasio and Barkouf et des Bergers, opera buffas such as La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein and La Princesse de Trébizonde, and the operettas of the composer's youth including Luc et Lucette and Entrez Messieurs Mesdames. The list of rediscoveries also features stage music for the Comédie Française, choral works, concertos, symphonic works, sacred music, ballet and numerous songs. All the periods of Offenbach's output are represented, from the first pieces of the young cellist (in collaboration with his brother Jules) to the late scores composed in the final years of the master - a veritable musical treasure chest which demands to be published and performed.

Jean-Christophe Keck writes: "In the work of musical archaeology, patience and tenacity are imperative. But what good luck finally! it took me many years of research to strike gold and what a treasure! Tens of thousands of autograph pages... yet this represents only a small part of what Offenbach composed in all too short a life. What a man, what a tireless worker and what a genius. We still have so much to discover..."

> Visit the Offenbach Edition Keck website

This month brings the premiere in Montpellier of Jean-Christophe Keck's edition of the 1867 version of Offenbach's retelling of the medieval legend of Geneviève de Brabant. The new staging by Carlos Wagner is a co-production between the Opéra Orchestre national Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon and Opéra national de Lorraine. Offenbach's opéra-féerie is most familiar for the famous Gendarmes' Duet which was later to form the basis of the US Marines Hymn but the new production offers the rare opportunity to experience this humorous and elegant work complete.

> Visit the Montpellier Opera website 

>  News Search

Mailing List

Sign up for news updates and offers via email

Audio Visual Gallery

Explore our library of 1500 online scores