Offenbach, Jacques [Jacob]
- Andrew Lamb
(b Cologne, June 20, 1819; d Paris, Oct 5, 1880). French composer of German origin. He was, with Johann Strauss (ii), one of the two composers of outstanding significance in popular music of the 19th century and the composer of some of the most exhilaratingly gay and tuneful music ever written. His opera Les contes d’Hoffmann has retained a place in the international repertory, but his most significant achievements lie in the field of operetta. Orphée aux enfers, La belle Hélène, La vie parisienne, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein and La Périchole remain outstanding examples of the French and international operetta repertory. Moreover, it was through the success of Offenbach’s works abroad that operetta became an established international genre, producing outstanding national exponents in Strauss, Sullivan and Lehár and evolving into the 20th-century musical.
His father, born Isaac Juda Eberst, left his native Offenbach am Main in about 1800...