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To extend his fame and earning power beyond Paris, he undertook tours of France and Germany.Among those with whom he performed were Anton Rubinstein and, in a concert in Offenbach's native Cologne, Liszt. There, he was immediately engaged to appear with some of the most famous musicians of the day, including Mendelssohn, Joseph Joachim, Michael Costa and Julius Benedict.

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He made a favourable impression on the composer and conductor Fromental Halévy, who gave him lessons in composition and orchestration and wrote to Isaac Offenbach in Cologne that the young man was going to be a great composer.

Although Offenbach's ambition was to compose for the stage, he could not gain an entrée to Parisian theatre at this point in his career; with Flotow's help, he built a reputation composing for and playing in the fashionable salons of Paris.

He went back to working as a cellist, and occasional conductor, at the Opéra-Comique, but was not encouraged in his aspirations to compose.

Offenbach composed songs and incidental music for eleven classical and modern dramas for the Comédie Française in the early 1850s.

His works from this period included La belle Hélène (1864), La Vie parisienne (1866), La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (1867) and La Périchole (1868).

The risqué humour (often about sexual intrigue) and mostly gentle satiric barbs in these pieces, together with Offenbach's facility for melody, made them internationally known, and translated versions were successful in Vienna, London and elsewhere in Europe.

In 1858, Offenbach produced his first full-length operetta, Orphée aux enfers ("Orpheus in the Underworld"), which was exceptionally well received and has remained one of his most played works.

During the 1860s, he produced at least 18 full-length operettas, as well as more one-act pieces.

He secured a few temporary jobs in theatre orchestras before gaining a permanent appointment in 1835 as a cellist at the Opéra-Comique.

He was no more serious there than he had been at the conservatoire, and regularly had his pay docked for playing pranks during performances; on one occasion, he and the principal cellist played alternate notes of the printed score, and on another they sabotaged some of their colleagues' music stands to make them collapse in mid-performance.

He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr. His best-known works were continually revived during the 20th century, and many of his operettas continue to be staged in the 21st.

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