Offenbach (1819-1880) was born in Koln,
where he learned the cello. His family moved to Paris,
when Jacques was 14 years old. He joined the Paris Conservatoire. He then earned
his living as a cellist. He performed for Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle in
1844. As he lived the rest of his life in France, and died in Paris,
he is usually thought of as a French composer.
In 1855 he started
composing for the theatre, and he himself managed a theatre just off the Champs-�lys�es.
He achieved great success with his operettas, and toured to London, and later to
USA. He wrote the operettas Orpheus in the Underworld,
The Tales of Hoffmann, and La Belle H�l�ne.