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Jacques Offenbach 1819 - 1880

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Offenbach, the creator of the infamous Can-Can, was born the son of a Jewish cantor in Cologne, and aged only 14 he began his cello study at the Paris Conservatory. After a successful performing career, he founded his own theatre in 1855 - the "Bouffes-Parisiens" - and he created the genre of the satirical music theatre, which was later called 'Offenbachiade'. His very first full-time opéra-bouffon, Orphée aux Enfers, signifies his international breakthrough: and after exploring the ballet (Le Papillon), the opéra-comique (Barkouf) and the great Romantic opera (Les Fées du Rhin), Offenbach cooperated with the congenial pair of libretto writers Meilhac and Halévy to produce many comic works which were triumphantly successful, and conquered stages around the world. Offenbach died in 1880, leaving one opera unfinished - Les Contes d'Hoffmann.

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 and Les Fées du Rhin are only now gaining the appreciation they deserve. 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.

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