In 2019, Cologne will be staging a major musical programme to commemorate the 200th birthday of one of the city’s most illustrious sons, composer Jacques Offenbach. The programme will include concerts, opera and operetta performances, exhibitions and discussions. The highlight will be two festival weeks from 9 to 26 June 2019 with operetta cinema for public viewing, street theatre, live music at Cologne’s Offenbach Platz, and musical picnics in castles and parks around the city. Melodies by Jacques Offenbach will be played in historical settings at seven grand castles in the Rhein-Erft-Kreis and Oberbergischer Kreis regions. These castles include Schloss Türnich, Schloss Loersfeld, the Kommandeursburg in Kerpen, Schloss Bedburg, Brauweiler Abbey, Haus Orr in Pulheim, and Schloss Paffendorf in Bergheim.
To start off the Offenbach anniversary celebrations, a travelling exhibition entitled “Von Köln über Paris in die Welt” (“From Cologne to the rest of the world via Paris”) will provide an overview of the life of the composer. It will be shown in the Spanischer Bau (Spanish building) of Cologne city hall from 14 December 2018 to 13 January 2019, and will then move on to different venues in Cologne, and then in Paris, Berlin and Düsseldorf. The first musical event of the anniversary year will be a performance by the Cologne-based Gürzenich Orchester with its New Year’s concert in the Kölner Philharmonie on 6 January, during which several works by Offenbach will be played.
The composer, who was originally named Jakob Offenbach, is widely regarded as the inventor of operetta. He changed his name to Jacques after moving to Paris.