The German-French composer Jakob “Jacques” Offenbach was born on 20 June 1819 in Cologne. He died on October 5, 1880 in Paris. In June 2019, his birthday marks the 200th anniversary.
Offenbach received his first cello and violin lessons from his father. From 1830 he appeared in Cologne together with two of his siblings as a trio to earn money for music lessons. In 1833 he enrolled in the cello class of Olive-Charlier Vaslin at the Paris Conservatoire national de Musique. In 1835 he began as a cellist at the Opéra-Comique and received composition lessons with Jacques Fromental Halévy from 1837.
Offenbach composed 75 pieces for violoncello and 102 stage works. His most famous operettas include “The Beautiful Helen”, “Bluebeard”, “Parisian Life” and “Orpheus in the Underworld” with the famous “Cancan”. In his works, he combined lively, catchy music with a satirical-profound plot with allusions to the customs, people and events of his time.
From 1877 he concentrated on the composition of his last work “The Tales of Hoffmann”, whose premiere on February 10, 1881 in the Opéra-Comique, he unfortunately could not live.
The video shows Anna Netrebko and Elīna Garanča with the “Barcarole” from Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann”. Emmanuel Villaume conducts the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.