Home: Operetta: Golden Age

In 1856, Offenbach discovered Hortense Schneider, a young soprano who would star in many of his finest musicals. After her debut in Le Violoneux (1856), Schneider became a full-blown star in Madame Papillon (1856). Her powerful voice and knack for comic innuendo made her the toast of Paris for the next quarter century. For Offenbach to tolerate her frequent tantrums and quarrelsome star personality, she must have been sensational.

By this time, Offenbach's melodies were popular all over Europe. He moved to a series of larger theatres, eventually winning the acceptance of the Opera Comique in 1858. It was there that Offenbach and colleagues created Orpheus in the Underworld, which satirized contemporary Parisian life under the guise of classical Greek mythology.

Thanks to Offenbach, the operetta became especially popular in Paris. He presided over the golden age and won immmortality by forever linking the genre to his name.