Jacques Offenbach

Fun Facts

  • Offenbach was the seventh of ten children.

  • As a child, Offenbach showed precocious musical talent, particularly for the cello.

  • Offenbach spent just a year studying at the Paris Conservatory before leaving to enter the professional world of music.

  • Young Offenbach got a job as a cellist at the Opéra-Comique, but regularly had his pay docked for playing pranks during performances.

  • Offenbach was an astonishing cellist; he performed with some of the most famous musicians of the day, including Rubenstein, Mendelssohn, and Liszt.

  • Jewish by birth, Offenbach converted to Catholicism in order to marry Herminie d'Alcain, the daughter of the Spanish Ambassador to France.

  • Offenbach was genial, funny, and enjoyable to be around, like many of the characters in his operas.

  • Offenbach opened and managed his own theater, where he successfully premiered his own operettas.

  • Offenbach's light operas were extremely popular, combining political and cultural satire with witty grand opera parodies.

  • In 1875, Offenbach visited the United States and conducted special concerts in New York City and Philadelphia.

  • Offenbach's grand opera, The Tales of Hoffmann, was left unfinished when he died.  It was completed by a friend, and premiered a year later.

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