Offenbach's numerous operettas, such as «Orphée aux enfers» (Orpheus in the Underworld) and «La belle Hélène», were extremely popular in both France and the English-speaking world during the 1850s and 1860s. They combined political and cultural satire with witty grand opera parodies. His popularity in France went down during the 1870s after the Second Empire, and he fled France, but during the last years of his life, his popularity rebounded, and several of his operettas are still performed. While his name remains associated most closely with the French operetta and the Second Empire, it is Offenbach's one fully operatic masterpiece, «Les contes d'Hoffmann» (The Tales of Hoffmann), composed at the end of his career, that has become the most familiar of Offenbach's works in major opera houses.
Offenbach was music director of the Comédie-Française for 7 years.
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