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If Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) is known today outside of France, it is as the guy who wrote the music for the Powell-Pressberger TALES OF Hoffman and also the music they use whenever a cancan is performed or Shopright announces a two-for-1 sale of canned goods -- that number, for those who are interested, is actually from ORPHEUS IN HELL.
In the 19th Century, however, Offenbach wrote the music for the best light operas until Arthur Sullivan started to write music with W.S. Gilbert. Offenbach's operettas were usually on classical themes, treating Greek gods or Italian counts as people who seem to get caught with their pants down a lot.
However, despite the funny words, these light operas are mostly about Offenbach's music: light, airy and beautiful, even more so that Sullivan, who often held himself in check to permit Gilbert's words to be heard. If you have a taste for classical music and haven't heard any of them, try starting with this one. If you have encountered Offenbach and like him, this is a pretty good production.
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