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Visit the new Offenbach Edition Keck website, updated in readiness for the composer's bicentenary in 2019 and now available on all devices. Next year also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Offenbach Edition Keck that has done so much to provide definitive editions of his works.


2019 is 200 years since the birth of Jacques Offenbach in Cologne, son of a Jewish cantor. Moving to Paris, aged 14, his performances on cello soon promised a burgeoning career as a virtuoso string soloist. However Offenbach increasingly turned his talents to the lyrical theatre with a sequence of works that were inimitably linked to the Paris stage yet whose universality has seen them travel the world to this day. As well as crafting the satirical comic stageworks for which he is best known, such as Orphée aux Enfers, La Belle Hélène and La Périchole, Offenbach also created Romantic operas including Les Fées du Rhin, Fantasio and Les Contes d'Hoffmann together with a selection of orchestral and chamber works.

2019 is also the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Offenbach Edition Keck, published by Boosey & Hawkes, in 1999. Led by Jean-Christophe Keck – widely regarded as the world's leading expert on Offenbach's music – the critical edition has brought the publication of definitive full scores of the composer's stageworks for the first time together with a wide selection of performing materials. It has also seen many forgotten stageworks and orchestral scores performed anew on stage and in the concert hall.

In readiness for the Offenbach year in 2019, the OEK's website has been upgraded and can now be viewed on all devices, whether desktop, tablet or mobile, making information on the composer's music available on the move as well as at home. Visit www.offenbach-edition.de for English, German and French versions of the website, detailing Offenbach's works and providing a range of resources, from original libretti submitted to the censor and a selection of Offenbach imagery, to a bibliography and guide to recordings of his music.

Stage performances employing the Offenbach Edition Keck in the lead up to the bicentenary year include a new production of his three-act opéra-bouffe Barkouf at the Opéra national du Rhin opening on 7 December. This bitter-sweet satire, setting a libretto by Scribe and Boisseaux, sees a dog in the title role, appointed as vizier to run the city government. The world premiere of the OEK version is staged in Strasbourg and Mulhouse by Julia Hansen with the Opéra national du Rhin under the baton of Jacques Lacombe.

The Hannover Staatsoper's production of Le Roi Carotte, with the lampooned political leadership taking vegetable rather than canine form, opened in November and runs throughout the season in the staging by Mathias Fischer-Dieskau. This follows the Opéra national de Lyon staging by Laurent Pelly which effectively revived the work in 2015 and travelled on to the Opéra de Lille earlier this year.

Offenbach's Fantasio was restored to attention by the OEK in 2013 thanks to the acclaimed recording by Opera Rara and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conducted by Mark Elder. The work has since been staged at the Théâtre du Chatelet in Paris, with Thomas Jolly's production travelling on to Geneva, Rouen and in December reaching Montpellier. In June 2019 a new staging by Martin Duncan provides the work's UK stage premiere at Garsington Opera, and Opera Zuid presents performances at the Cologne Philharmonie.

Turning to orchestral repertoire, the 2019 bicentenary brings a series of performances of Offenbach's cello concerto, titled Grand Concerto and subtitled Concerto Militaire. This major work in the cello repertoire, premiered in 1847, was painstakingly reconstructed by Jean-Christophe Keck following the discovery of sources missing for a century. The Grand Concerto has been recorded on Deutsche Grammophon by Jérôme Pernoo with Les Musiciens du Louvre under Marc Minkowksi, and the cellist tours the concerto in Germany and Poland in March with the Plauen-Zwickau Philharmonic and Warsaw Philharmonic. April and May see further performances of the Grand Concerto programmed by the Brno Philharmonic and the NRW Youth Orchestra.

Two major new publishing initiatives are planned by the OEK for 2019. A collection of arias for each of the four voice types will be released under the title Romantic Offenbach, combining familiar vocal hits with new discoveries. Three volumes of Offenbach's music for cello and piano are to be published, revealing his virtuoso talents in writing for the instrument and explaining his reputation as "the Liszt of the cello".

>  Further information on Work: Fantasio (OEK critical edition)

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