Offenbach Festival: Etretat celebrates 200 years of the composer of “La Belle Hélène”

For its 14th edition, the Offenbach d’Etretat festival celebrates the bicentennial of the birth of the famous composer who maintained a special link with the Norman seaside city.

Until 10 August, Etretat will host the 14th Offenbach festival. An appointment even more awaited in this year when we celebrate the 200 years of the birth of the famous composer of La Belle Hélène. The occasion to recall the artist’s attachment to this seaside city where he stayed and found inspiration.

Offenbach-Etretat: love forever
Born in 1819 in Cologne, naturalized French in 1860, Jacques Offenbach gave in to the charms of Etretat in 1856. Four years after discovering the Norman city, he took advantage of the success and recipes of Orpheus in the Underworld to build his corner of paradise, a villa he baptized Orpheus, perched on the coast, overlooking the road that leads to Fécamp.

Almost every summer and until his death in 1880, the composer stayed here with his family. He also gives large receptions frequented by Georges Bizet and Gustave Doré but also improvised concerts, costume balls, literary salons and theatrical evenings.In 1861, a fire caused extensive damage that forced the villa to be rebuilt the following year. The rooms are named after the emblematic works of Offenbach: La Belle Hélène, La Vie parisienne, La Jolie parfumeuse…

A tribute show for 200 years
The Offenbach festival was born in 2006 with a desire to rediscover the very rich repertoire of the musician who composed 650 opus (including 110 scenic works and more than 60 works in a single act). Some are very well-known, others are far less well-known. This is what the festival has been trying to highlight for the past 13 years.

But bicentenary obliges, the 14th edition pays tribute to the works that made the success of Offenbach (La vie parisienne, la Belle Hélène, Orphée aux enfers et autre Grande Duchesse…) through a show, L’anniversaire, created by Yves Coudray, the artistic director of the festival. The story? ” All the characters who have already played at the Etretat festival gather to create a great meal for the 200 years of Offenbach who will perhaps join them in the evening “explains with a little mystery who is also a director. The performance will take place on August 10 at the Villa Orphée and will be followed by a ball-concert.

Lyrical music and parody
Almost 160 years after his death, Offenbach remains a monument to music, one of the most played and appreciated composers of the general public. His audacity, his imagination and his ability to mix lyricism and parody are certainly a big part of this success.
“What Offenbach likes is his caustic spirit and his very cheerful and modern music.”
~ Jean-Baptiste Renié, President of the Association of the Friends of Offenbach
Until August 10, 3 concerts are planned including the one of Sunday, August 4 with a parade that will go down in the city on a bench tank before a free concert given by the Denote Ensemble directed by Mathieu Braud but also a musical talk, a cello recital and a master class to learn to sing and interpret Offenbach.Cheerfulness and fantasy guaranteed!