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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.Before leaving, he found a number of pupils for Jules; the modest earnings from those lessons, supplemented by fees earned by both brothers as members of synagogue choirs, supported them during their studies.At the conservatoire, Jules was a diligent student; he graduated and became a successful violin teacher and conductor, and led his younger brother's orchestra for several years.Isaac had been given letters of introduction to the director of the Paris Conservatoire, Luigi Cherubini, but he needed all his eloquence to persuade Cherubini even to give Jacob an audition.The boy's age and nationality were both obstacles to admission.Finding the management of Paris' Opéra-Comique company uninterested in staging his works, in 1855 he leased a small theatre in the Champs-Élysées.There he presented a series of his own small-scale pieces, many of which became popular.
He amused the comtesse de Vaux's 200 guests with a parody of Félicien David's currently fashionable Le désert, and in April 1846 gave a concert at which seven operatic items of his own composition were premiered before an audience that included leading music critics.
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.
After some encouragement and some temporary setbacks, he seemed on the verge of breaking into theatrical composition when Paris was convulsed by the 1848 revolution, which swept Louis Philippe from the throne and led to serious bloodshed in the streets of the capital.
Returning to Paris in February 1849, Offenbach found the grand salons closed down.