Jacques Offenbach is best known for his opera Les contes d'Hoffman (Tales of Hoffmann) and for a work he did not compose, Gaîté parisienne, which used his themes as assembled and arranged by Manuel Rosenthal. Offenbach was one of those populist figures whose tuneful and exhilarating music could, at its best, elevate his art to classic status. His chief importance was in the development of the operetta as a bona fide genre on the world's stages. In this endeavor he would exert influence to varying degrees over Johann Strauss II, Lehár, Sullivan, and many others. Offenbach was born Jacob Offenbach in Cologne on June 20, 1819. His first lessons were on violin. At age nine his focus turned to the cello, possibly to become the third member of a family trio: his brother Julius was already proficient on the violin, and his sister Isabella ...
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