- Jacques Offenbach - The Mozart of the Champs-Élysées [Biography]
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Jacques Offenbach

Jacques Offenbach (June 20, 1819 -October 5, 1880), composer and cellist, the creator of "La vie Parisienne" and an originator of the operetta form, a precursor of the modern musical comedy.

Offenbach was of German-Jewish origin, born Jakob Eberst, the son of a synagogue cantor. He moved to Paris in 1833 to study the cello. He found employment playing cello in the orchestra of the Opera Comique, and wrote several pieces for the instrument. In 1844, he married Herminie de Alcain. In 1850 he became conductor of the Theatre Francais, but in 1855 rented his own theatre, the Bouffes Parisiens on the Champs Elysees, and began a successful career devoted largely to operetta and opéras comiques until his death. His most popular works are still performed regularly today. He also wrote much dance music, especially the can-can style. His best known operettas in the English-speaking world are Orpheus in the Underworld, La Vie Parisien, La Belle Helene, La Perichole and The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein.

Offenbach's final opera, The Tales of Hoffman, was more serious than his other works, reflecting perhaps the eternal wish of the clown to be taken seriously. It was still unfinished at his death, and was completed by his best friend Ernest Guiraud, and premiered in 1881.

He is buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre, Paris, France.

contributed by Wikipedia

5 January 2004

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