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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 20 June 1819Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Date of Death 4 October 1880Paris, France
Birth NameJacob Offenbach

Mini Bio (1)

Jacques Offenbach, the son of a synagogue cantor, was born in Cologne, Germany, June 20, 1819. So strong were his musical talents that the Paris Conservatory waived the rule forbidding foreigners and enrolled him. At the completion of his studies he began playing the cello in the orchestra of the prestigious Opera-Comique. In 1850 he was appointed musical director of the Comedie Frangaise, another of France's principal theaters; he continued in this position for five years. During this period he began writing comic operas. When he realized that he would be unable to get them performed by established production organizations, he decided to open a theater of his own -- Bouffes Parisiens--in 1855. There he wrote and presented twenty-five musical satires, farces, and comic operas within a three-year period. In response to this work, he became the idol of Parisian theater-goers. In the years that followed he remained the master of French comic opera, enjoying great popularity and irregular financial success. He travelled to America in 1876 on a performance tour. His desire to write musical work of a more serious nature led him to consider the opera project which eventually resulted in The Tales of Hoffmann. Although the work was almost complete at his death, he never lived to see the opera performed. He died in Paris on October 4, 1880, four months before the opera's premiere. Although The Tales of Hoffmann is undeniably Offenbach's greatest work, his delightful lighter efforts are still produced periodically throughout the world. Among the most popular of these are Orpheus in the Underworld, La belle Helehne, La Grand Duchesse de Gerolstein, and La Perichole.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

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