Stage works (large and small) by Jacques Offenbach

Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) composed about a hundred stage works, most of which were comic operas or operettas. Several of Offenbach’s earlier pieces had only three singers (later four), because of a French law that prevented him from having more. As soon as the law was changed, he began writing longer Read More …

La Gaîté Lyrique

The French word Gaîté means cheerfulness or happiness, and this historic theatre was certainly a cheerful place in the middle-to-late 1870s, when several of Jacques Offenbach’s comical operettas were performed here. Offenbach himself was the theatre’s director and impresario for two years, but he was not so happy with the Read More …

Look ma, no electrons!

We 21st century folks are so accustomed to doing everything electronically that we tend to forget about (or not even know about) the amazing mechanical devices our grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents and great-great-great-grandparents used to use. From music boxes to player pianos, musical clocks to orchestrions, barrel organs to self-playing violins, Read More …

Hugoffenbach

In Paris back in 2011 I saw an insightful theatrical revue about the Second Empire, the eighteen-year period from 1852 to 1870 when Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte ruled France as Emperor Napoléon III. The musical spectacle “Hugoffenbach” combined texts by Victor Hugo (1802-1885), expressing his outrage at Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte’s seizure of power, Read More …