Jacques Offenbach (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Over the course of one hundred operettas and a major opera, Offenbach virtually defined this form of musical theater through his characteristic mixture of gaiety, spontaneity, and infectious melody and thus became the first great influence in the process of internationalizing the operetta.
Jacques Offenbach, one of the greatest figures in the history of operetta, was born Jacob Eberst, the second son of a peripatetic Jewish cantor and music teacher. Isaac Eberst, Jacob’s father, was a poor man who, when not singing in the synagogue of his hometown, Offenbach-am-Main, Germany, supplemented his income as a music teacher by playing the fiddle in local cafés. Called “the Offenbacher” on his travels, Isaac thus adopted “Offenbach” as his legal surname.
Jacob clearly inherited more than his father’s name, for the boy, along with his brother Julius, early showed a marked talent for music. Offenbach himself noted that he had learned to play the violin by the time he was seven, but by age ten he discovered the cello and it was with this instrument that the young man became a professional musician. Frail and thin throughout his life, Offenbach belied his appearance by playing the cello with the same high-spirited vivacity that was to characterize his music.
Offenbach’s talent was in need of greater nourishment than that which could be obtained in Cologne, so in...
(The entire section is 2361 words.)
Show us the love and view this for free! Use the facebook like button, or any other share button on this page, and get this content free!free!
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!