without an audience.
there is no pause between tracks!!!
Disc_01 LP_01 LP_02 LP_03 LP_04
Disc_02 LP_01 LP_02 LP_03
Disc_03 LP_01 LP_02 LP_03
Ifjú korában Párizsban a Conservatoire növendéke, majd az Opéra Comique csellistája volt. 1849-től a Theátre Francais karmestereként aratta első sikerét a Chanson de Fortunio című színpadi művével. 1855 és 1866 között a Bouffes-Parisiens igazgatója volt. Első műveinek nagy része itt került bemutatásra. 1872–76 között a Theátre de la Gaité-t vezette, majd amerikai turnén járt. Itt azonban nem járt sikerrel, ezután csak a műveinek élt.
Offenbach több operettje, köztük az Orfeusz az alvilágban (Orphée aux enfers, 1854), vagy a Szép Heléna (La belle Hélène, 1864) és A gerolsteini nagyhercegnő (La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, 1867) kiemelkedően népszerű volt mind a francia, mind az angol nyelvterületeken az 1850-es és az 1860-as évek táján. A művek a politikai és a kulturális szatírát ötvözték szellemes opera-paródiákkal. Offenbach ragyogó népszerűsége megcsappant viszont az 1870-es évekre, a második császárság bukásával.
Elhagyta Franciaországot, ám életének végén népszerűsége újból felívelt, és műveit újra elkezdték játszani. Összesen 102 színpadi művet írt, 1876-ban megkezdett egyetlen nagyszabású operáját, a Hoffmann meséit (Les Contes d'Hoffmann) már E. Guiraud fejezte be 1880-ban.
Halála után a montmartre-i temetőben helyezték örök nyugalomra. (Wikipedia )
And he did. On the tip of his pen. when Jacques Offenbach died in 1 880. at the age ot sixty-one, was Les Conres d’Hoffmann. He had compieted the piano score of this last work — the opera he had consciously set out to make his masterpiece — and the first act was scored. with indications for the scoring ot the rest; but the composer did not live to see his characters on the stage and to taste. once again, the success he had known so often during his career. After its opening at the Opéra-Comique on February 10, 1881, Les Contes d’Hoffmann ran for more than a hundred performances that first season. It was not precisely the opera Offenbach had conceived — the impresario took many liberties — but that is another story...
In any case, we can believe this posthumous triumph wouid have given the composer a special pieasure. perhaps even more than he had derived from previous successes iike Qrphée aux Enfers. La Bel/e Héléne, and La Périchole. For many years such operettas reigned supreme. in Paris and etsewhere. and he was given the title of “the Mozart ot the boulevards”. He certainly enjoyed this enviable position. but he also aspired to something higher. more serious. Offenbach was no clown. and he did not want to play Hamlet; he wanted. however. to write a proper opera and to have it played — and praised — at the Comique. whose stage he had attempted, with difficulty. several times. and in vain.
In 1876. Offenbach visited the United States. Shortly after his return. he published a modest. but amusing book about the journey. and in it he quoted a newspaper description of himseif, on his arrival:
‘Among the cabin passengers appeared the composer Offenbach . . . a pleasant-looking gentleman of about medium height. siender in build and slightly round-shouldered. His face is somewhat thinner and more deeply furrowed with wrinkles than is represented by the iithographs which are displayed in the shop windows. He has a fresh. lively way of speaking. and his face is always lit up by a smile.”
His life until then had not always been smiies. Born in Cologne on June 20. 1819. Jakob — as his name was then — was the son of a poor Jewish fiddier and music-teacher. He became one of his father’s pupiis and. in the best tradition of gifted composers. revealed his talents at an early age. At great financial sacrifice. his father enabled Jakob to study in Paris. In no time. he had become Jacques. Though he maintained close, friendly relations with his family — and though he always spoke French with a thick accent — Offenbach became a Parisian.
Struggling against poverty. he learned his profession and earned his living. first by playing in orchestras (inciuding the Comique’s), then — introduced by his aristocratic friend Flotow, composer ot Martha — in the Paris salons, where he soon became a tamiliar, favourite pertorming guest, a virtuoso cellist.
After a time in the uncongeniai post ot musical director of the Comédie Franaise. in 1855 Offenbach was able to open his own theatre. the minuscule Bouffes-Parisiens. It was the time of the splendid World Exhibition. People flocked to the Paris of Napoleon lii, to the Palace of industry and other exhibits; and they flocked to the Báuffes. Offenbach was the man of the h o u r.
His hour lasted a long time. Visitors to the Bouffes included Meyerbeer (whom Offenbach mercilessly parodied). Thackeray. even the stern Tolstoy. In 1858. the composer wrote Orphée; in 1864, Hé/éne (atanothertheatre); in 1 867. La Grande Duchesse de Gero/dste,n; and in 1 868, La Périchole. Needless to say. these are only the peaks in a long. seemingly endless chain of works that Offenbach turned out at top speed.
And then, in 1870: the war, the Commune. and a new world, different from the Paris of the frivolous boulevardiers, the capricious courtesans, the superficially carefree mocking society that was at once the butt of Offenbach’s humour (abetted by his witty librettists) and that humour’s devoted audience.
Offenbach fled Paris with his beloved wife Herminie and their children; he stayed away many months. Though he had a decade to live. he was already a sick man. Still. at times he regained his old vigour. One such moment came shortly after his return to Paris. Late in 1 871, he was watching a rehearsal of his Les Brigands, which was being revived. His librettist Ludovic Halévy described in his memoirs that scene:
Offenbach made a brave fight to attune himself to the new times of the Repubiic. He assumed the management of the ThéMre de ia Gaté. offering both operetta and the sumptuous spectacies which were then the rage. He even made a new adaptation ot Orphée, and the audiences received it weii. But he was a poor manager; the theatre — and Offenbach — went bankrupt. Affiicted with gout. writing stiil at a break-neck pace. he was deepiy in debt. The American tour was undertaken, to bring some financiai respite.
it was during this American visit that the idea of Les Contes d’Hoffmann came to him, or rather returned to him. In 1851, at the Odeon, he had seen a piay by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré (iibrettists of many operas. inciuding Gounod’s Faust). based on some stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann, the German romantic musician-writer who had inspired many other composers. inciuding Offenbach’s friend Leo Delibes (his Coppélia derives from Hoffmann). The tales of the ili-starred Hoffmann and his fantastic ioves seemed an ideai libretto to Offenbach, and on his return to Paris he discovered, in fact. that Barbier had aiready adapted the piay (Carré had died in 1872). and it was being set by another composer, the chorus-master of the Opéra. Hector Saiomon.
Generousiy. Saiomon ceded the Iibretto to Offenbach. who began to work. Uniike his other compositions, Les Contes d’Hoffmann advanced siowiy. When he wrote his operettas, Offenbach worked so fast that he had had a speciai tabie made for his carriage, where he composed during his daiiy trips to and from the theatre. And. in fact. the composition of his demanding, serious opera alternated with the confection ot many iighter pieces, because money probiems were aiways pressing. Ás he wrote Les Contes. Offenbach also turned out operettas. pantomimes. and other pieces. and he supervised revivais of eariier successes.
His heaith deciined aiarmingiy, but he worked on. in his Qffenbach and the Paris of his Time. S. Kracauer writes of these last months: “He was a ioneiy oid man. whose oniy ambition was to compiete the work on which his heart was set . . He was deepiy affected by the story of Antonia, who, if she sang. was bound to die. He sadiy told himseif that he had aiways succumbed to the temptation to sing in a fashion different from that in which he shouid have sung; and by dint of incessant brooding about his supposed iife-iong aberration he arrived at the conciusion that there was a secret connection between his work on The Tales ofHoffmann and the approach of death; that he. like Ántonia. wouid die because in .this opera he wouid reafly sing.”
On May 18. 1879, there was a private reading of the opera at his house in the Bouievard des Capucines. Leon Carvaiho. director of the Comique. was there. and so was Herr Jauner ot Vienna’s Ringtheater. Both wanted the rights to the wrk. and Offenbach promptiy gave them to the Comique. the bastion he had ambitiousiy assaiied more than once. but never winning it. — There were other operettas to compose. however. One was La Fi/le du Tambour-Major, and with it he regained something like his old position. in March, 1880. he presided over a grand supper celebrating the lOlst performance.
That summer he worked on. He wrote to Carvaiho: “Hurry up and stage my opera. I haven’t much time Ieft and my onIy wish is to attend the opening night.”
Friends came to see him in his country retreat, ali aware — as he was — that the end was near. There were delays at the Comique; Offenbach was taken to the theatre to hear bits of the music rehearsed. A short time later, he suffered an attack. at home, and his death agony began, as he heid the manuscript of Les Contes d’Hoffmann in his hand. He died on October 5, 1880, missing the opening night of his opera by just over four months.