Jacques Offenbach

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Offenbach, Jacques


(pen name of Jakob Eberst). Born June 20, 1819, in Cologne; died Apr. 10, 1880, in Paris. French composer, one of the founders of the classical operetta. Son of a cantor.

From 1833, Offenbach lived in Paris. He began his career as a composer of theater music (1839) and studied composition with J. F. Halévy. In 1849 he became composer and conductor at the Comédie Française. In 1855 he opened his own theater, the Bouffes-Parisiens, which he directed until 1861.

The parody operetta Orpheus in Hades (1858; second version, 1874) won recognition for Offenbach. He consolidated his success with the operettas La Belle Hélène (1864), Bluebeard (1866), La Vie parisienne (1866), La Périchole (1868), and Les Brigands (1869). Although these works had mythological, fairytale, and topical or anecdotal themes, they provided a satirical portrait of bourgeois society under the Second Empire. Parody was an important aspect of all of them.

In 1876–77, Offenbach toured the USA, appearing as a conductor. The last years of his life were marked by a surge of creativity. He composed the operettas Madame Favart (1878) and La fille du tambour-major (1879), as well as the opera The Tales of Hoffmann, in which his lyrical gift was powerfully displayed (1880; E. Guiraud’s version staged in 1881). Offenbach composed more than 100 operettas, laying the foundation for the genre. His music was democratic, permeated with the intonations of Parisian urban lore and the rhythms of popular dances. His striking gift for melody, his technical mastery in composition, and his excellent grasp of the principles of the stage made him an outstanding master of musical theater and won international popularity for his compositions.


Sollertinskii, I. Zhak Offenbakh. Leningrad, 1933.
Decaux, A. Offenbach, roi du Second Empire. Paris, 1958.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
As Sharp's title indicates, Farnie's particular forte was opera bouffe of which Jacques Offenbach was the principal exponent in France with Farnie as his imitator and sometimes collaborator in England.
Musicologists cite French operas-comiques and Jacques Offenbach's operettas as the origin of Viennese operetta.
Other names in the collection include Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, listed as arriving with 14 attendants in 1839, and German-born composer Jacques Offenbach.
Tickets cost pounds 12 and can be booked through the box office on 01656 815995 or online at www.grandpavilion.co.uk LA Belle Helene - the second of Jacques Offenbach's highly diverting satires on a well-known legend - will be held between February 17 and 20 at 7.30pm at Bishop of Llandaff High School, Rookwood Close, Cardiff.
Thereafter, she led the audience to listen to the passionate outcry by Edwige for Robinson Crusoe in ' Lead Me to the Person I Love', a Jacques Offenbach composition.
Cologne also housed the largest collection of works by composer Jacques Offenbach, as well as important documents from Germany's first chancellor, Konrad Adenauer.
Jacques Offenbach: "Les oiseaux dans la charmille" (Les Contes d'Hoffmann); "Duo de la mouche" (Orphee aux enfers).
Biography, which boomed in the Weimar Republic, is represented by the popular works of Emil Ludwig and the ensuing debate on 'historische Belletristik', Brecht's Die Geschafte des Herrn Julius Caesar, Heinrich Mann's Henri IV (read alongside Georg Lukacs's critique of its first part in Der historische Roman), and Siegfried Kracauer' Jacques Offenbach and das Paris seiner Zeit.
In 1938 Manuel Rosenthal pieced together a little ballet from some of the most familiar bits of Jacques Offenbach's operas La Vie pariesienne, La belle Helene, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Tales of Hoffmann, and others.