Jacqnes Offenbach, a French composer, born of German-Jewish parents in Cologne, June 21, 1819. He was a student at the Paris conservatory from 1835 to 1837, and began his career as a player upon the violoncello. His first published compositions were music to La Fontaine's fables. In 1847 he became leader of the orchestra at the Theatre Francais. In 1855 he opened the Bouffes Parisiens on the Champs Elysees as a summer theatre, transferring his company in the winter to the Théâtre de Comte in the passage Choiseul. In 1873 he became director of the Gaite theatre. His career since the opening of the Bouffes Parisiens has been one of great prosperity and popularity. His OrpJtee avx enfers ran for 300 successive nights when first produced, and his operas have been performed throughout Europe and America. For the copyright of his spectacular opera bouffe "Whittington and his Cat," produced at the Alhambra theatre, London, Christmas, 1874, he received £3,000. He was the first to bring to the treatment of burlesque the ingenuity and elaboration which other composers have given to more serious works. His rank as a composer is by no means proportionate to the popularity he has obtained.

His training was incomplete; his melodies, though rhythmical, are trivial; and the structure of his operas is founded for the most part upon dance measures, bright and pleasant, but of little musical value. On several occasions he has endeavored to produce a higher class of compositions, and he wrote as operas eomiques Barcouf and Robinson Crvsoë. But he failed in these attempts, and returned to the opera bouffe. His best known productions in addition to those above named are La belle Helene (18G4), Betrbe-Bleue (1866), La grande ducliesse (1867), La Périchole and Genevieve de Brabant (1868), Les brigands and La princesse de Trebizonde (1869), La jolie parfumeusc (1873), and Madame Varchiduc (1874).