Jacques Offenbach

Biography

Born: Jun 20, 1819; Germany   Died: Oct 5, 1880; France   Period: Romantic
Jacques Offenbach is best known for his opera Les contes d'Hoffman (Tales of Hoffmann) and for a work he did not compose, Gaîté parisienne, which used his themes as assembled and arranged by Manuel Rosenthal. Offenbach was one of those populist figures whose tuneful and exhilarating music could, at its best, elevate his art to classic status. His chief importance was in the development of the operetta as a bona fide genre on the world's stages. Read more In this endeavor he would exert influence to varying degrees over Johann Strauss II, Lehár, Sullivan, and many others.
Offenbach was born Jacob Offenbach in Cologne on June 20, 1819. His first lessons were on violin. At age nine his focus turned to the cello, possibly to become the third member of a family trio: his brother Julius was already proficient on the violin, and his sister Isabella was a good pianist. Together, the three played local engagements for small sums of money. Offenbach's teachers included Joseph Alexander and Bernhard Breuer.
In 1833, Offenbach's father took him to Paris, where he was enrolled at the Conservatory. It was during his early years there that he adopted the French version of his name, "Jacques." After leaving the Conservatory about a year later, Offenbach took further lessons on the cello from Louis Norblin, but, more importantly, studied composition with Halévy. He supported himself during this period by playing in the Opéra-Comique orchestra. By 1838, when he left his orchestral post, he had become one of the finest cellists in Europe and began performing with Flotow, who played the piano. Although he had been composing small pieces since his childhood, Offenbach began writing larger works now, like the score for the comedy, Pascal et Chambord, premiered in 1839.
Over the next several years, Offenbach met and performed with Anton Rubinstein and Franz Liszt, and he traveled to London in 1844 to give concerts with Mendelssohn and Joachim. That same year he married Herminie d'Alcain, following his conversion from Judaism to Catholicism. Clearly, Offenbach could have chosen to remain primarily a performing artist, but in 1847 he began composing operettas, his first being L'alcove. He was appointed conductor at the Théâtre Français in 1850, and by 1855, when he resigned that conducting post for another, began attaining regular performances of his works at important theaters like the Bouffes-Parisiens, at Salle Marigny.
Orphée aux enfers (Orpheus in the underworld) was a great success in 1858 and paved the way for his subsequent larger operettas. He had a string of hits in the mid-1860s: La belle Hélène (1864), Barbe-bleue (1866), La vie parisienne (1866), and La Périchole (1868). While his later works also achieved success, they did not generate the level of excitement attained by these.
In 1874, Offenbach, now director of the Théâtre de la Gaité, mounted new versions of some of his earlier successful operettas, like La Périchole, but failed to turn profits. Eventually he went into bankruptcy. A concert tour to the United States in 1876 and new productions of his works in London a few years later helped give him financial solvency. Offenbach continued composing up to his last days. He was working on his opera, the aforementioned Les contes d'Hoffman, when he died on October 5, 1880. The work, existing in piano score only, was orchestrated by Guiraud, who also made a few additions. Read less
Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann / Konya, Mesple
Release Date: 02/05/2002   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 1331   Number of Discs: 2
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Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann / Konya, Mesple
Release Date: 03/09/2010   Label: Opera D'oro  
Catalog: 7074   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Les contes d'Hoffmann: Barcarolle

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  • 1.
    I Don't Like Classical Music, But I Kinda Like This!
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 74698 Release Date: 06/17/2014   Number of Discs: 2
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    Karajan: Orchestra Spectaculars From Handel To Bartok
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633621 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 13
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    Die Leichte Muse Und Die Konigin Der Instrumente, Vol. 4
    Label: Querstand   Catalog: 1304 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 1
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    Keep Calm It's A Baby Boy
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 1223550 Release Date: 03/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
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    Label: Sony   Catalog: 1189412 Release Date: 03/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
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    100 Hits: Classical Greats
    Label: 100 Hits   Catalog: 1017490 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Myra Hess,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
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    Conductor:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Members of the Vienna Octet (Members)
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    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1104380 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  John Newton,  César Franck,  Ludovico Einaudi,  Franz Schubert  ... 
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    The Expressive Voice Of The Flute
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 21222 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Howard Blake,  William Lloyd Webber  ... 
    Performer:  Kenneth Smith,  Paul Rhodes
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  • 9.
    Montserrat Caballe - The Diva [6-CD Set]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548834 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Maya Sunara,  Corinna Vozza,  Sherrill Milnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Anton Guadagno,  Carlo Felice Cillario,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
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  • 10.
    Barcarole: Favourite Orchestral Pieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 282752 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Jacques Offenbach,  Jules Massenet,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Hans Kalafusz
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
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  • 11.
    Karajan Adagio: Music To Free Your Mind
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001805202 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Pietro Mascagni,  Johann Pachelbel,  Gustav Mahler,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Meyer,  Frank Maus,  Michel Schwalbé,  Karlheinz Zöller  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 12.
    Classics For A Summer Evening From Leeds Castle / Carl Davis
    Label: Conifer   Catalog: 51302 Release Date: 11/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jeremiah Clarke,  George Frideric Handel,  Léo Delibes,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Janice Watson,  Ruby Philogene
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  King's Division Normandy Band,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
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    Label: Simply   Catalog: 1206108 Release Date: 09/04/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  George Frideric Handel,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Joszef Mukle,  Alberto Cupido,  Graciela Alperyn  ... 
    Conductor:  Camerata Budapest,  László Kovács,  Martin Elmquist,  Alexander Rahbari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scholars Baroque Ensemble,  I Solisti Italiani
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    One Fine Day / Katherine Jenkins
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001632702 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Giacomo Puccini,  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Michael Kamen  ... 
    Performer:  Katherine Jenkins
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  • 15.
    50 Greatest Pieces Of Classical Music / London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 105 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Pieter Schoeman,  Finghin Collins,  Craig Ogden
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 110 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Claude Debussy,  Jules Massenet,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Finghin Collins,  Andrea Kauten,  Sergio Tiempo,  Dubravka Tomsic  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Chamber Duo,  Saarland Radio Holzblaser-Trio
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  • 17.
    One Fine Day / Katherine Jenkins [CD & DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 2781057 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Giacomo Puccini,  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Michael Kamen  ... 
    Performer:  Katherine Jenkins,  Juan Diego Flórez,  Tim Rhys-Evans
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Serendipity
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  • 18.
    Classics At The Movies
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4764553 Release Date: 08/16/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Giacomo Puccini,  Tomaso Albinoni,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Isador Goodman,  Yvonne Kenny,  Jane Sheldon,  Lauris Elms  ... 
    Conductor:  Patrick Thomas,  Wlodzimierz Kamirski,  William Motzing,  David Measham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cantillation,  Tasmanian Symphony Chamber Players
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  • 19.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 56028 Release Date: 08/12/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Lew Pollack,  Traditional,  Charles Gounod,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Conductor:  Annuncio Paolo Mantovani
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  • 20.
    Summer Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82156 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ottorino Respighi,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Susan Milan
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Neville Marriner,  André Previn,  Paul Tortelier  ... 
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  • 21.
    The World Of Offenbach
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4805318 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach
    Performer:  Jacques Charon,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Pedro di Proenza,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Summer In The Park
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 82658 Release Date: 06/21/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  George Frideric Handel,  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Ingrid Fliter,  Han-Na Chang,  Aline Brewer,  Martin Roscoe  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Hans-Martin Linde,  Jean-Bernard Pommier,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Linde Consort
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  • 23.
    Classic Lullabies: Music For Sweetest Dreams
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 70829 Release Date: 05/03/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann,  Bernhard Flies,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Truls Otterbech Mork,  Juhani Lagerspetz,  Jean-Bernard Pommier,  Leif Ove Andsnes  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeffrey Tate,  Richard Stamp,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Paul Tortelier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble
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  • 24.
    Label: Opera Collective   Catalog: 5637688526 Release Date: 03/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Vaughn Lindquist,  Geoffrey Duce,  Carla Wesby,  Adrienne Patino  ... 
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  • 25.
    Hits & Evergreens
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 5332282 Release Date: 01/21/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Fernando Marchetti,  André Rieu,  Jacob Gade,  Friedrich Schroder  ... 
    Performer:  André Rieu
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