Schneider, Hortense

BORN 30 Apr 1833, Bordeaux, Gironde - DIED 5 May 1920, Paris
REAL NAME Schneider, Catherine Jeanne
GRAVE LOCATION Bordeaux, Gironde: Cimetière Protestant de la rue Judaïque, rue Judaïque

Hortense Schneider was the daughter of the tailor Georges Schneider from Strasbourg who had settled in Bordeaux. Her mother´s name was Elisabeth Bussière. Her father was an alcoholic and after his death she entered the stage, took singing lessons and was a member of a travelling group.

In 1853 she debuted in Agen in Donizetti's opera "La Favorite". In 1855 she went to Paris, where she started using Hortense as her first name. In Paris she was turned down by the Théâtre des Variétés. She met the singer Jean Berthelier and he became her lover. Berthelier introduced her to Jacques Offenbach, who engaged her at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens and she debuted in "Le violoneux". She was an instant succes.

In 1858 a son, Georges André de Gramont-Vachères (1858-1919), was born from her affair with the Emmanuel, Duc de Gramont-Caderousse. She performed title part in "La Belle Hélène" in 1864 was a huge succes. In 1865 the Duc de Gramont died and left part of his fortune to her to provide for their son. In 1866 she was Boulotte in the premiere of Offenbach's "Barbe-bleue". In 1867 her appearance in "The Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein" at the time of the Universal Exhibition was another succes. Napoleon III saw it on 24 April and returned with empress Eugénie a few days later. Ismail Pasha, the khedive of Egypt, visited the show as well as her dressing room almost every day during his stay in Paris.

Because of her affairs with noble people her rival Léa Silly called her "le Passage des Princes", after a shopping arcade. Among her lovers were Alexander II of Russia and the future Edward VII of Great-Britain.

In 1870 she performed in London. After the fall of the Second Empire her succes in France faded but she was still popular abroad and performed at several courts. After Offenbach's dead in 1880 she retired from the stage and attended her son.

In 1881 she married an Italian who called himself comte de Bionne. He was no nobleman and probably after her money and they separated soon after the wedding. She lived a respectable life until 1920 and she died in Paris. She was buried in her native Bordeaux.

31/8/1855Premiere of Offenbach's "Le violoneux" with Hortense Schneider. It was performed at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens in Paris. It was Schneider's first role for Offenbach. 
17/12/1864Premiere of Offenbach's "La belle Hélène" with Hortense Schneider. It was performed at the Théâtre des Variétés, Paris. Hortense Schneider and José Dupuis were the main stars. 
5/2/1866Premiere of Offenbach's "Barbe-bleue" with José Dupuis and Hortense Schneider. It was performed at the Théâtre des Variétés, Paris and had a run of five months. 
12/4/1867Premiere of "La Grance-Duchesse de Gérolstein" with Hortense Schneider at the Théâtre des Variétés in Paris. It was written and conducted by Jacques Offenbach and Hortense Schneider was the Grand Duchess. In the audience were Pauline von Metternich and the famous critic Hanslick. [Hanslick, Eduard]
24/4/1867Napoleon III attends Offenbach's "La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein". It was performed at the Théâtre des Variétés in Paris and Hortense Schneider was the Grand Duchess. [Napoleon III Bonaparte, Empereur des Français]
6/10/1868Premiere of Offenbach's "La Périchole" with Hortense Schneider in the title role. It was performed at the Théâtre des Variétés, Paris. 
25/4/1874Premiere of the revised version of "La Périchole". Hortense Schneider performed the title part in the operatta by Offenbach like she had done in the original version of 1868. 


The grave of Hortense Schneider at the Cimetière Protestant de la rue Judaïque, Bordeaux.
Picture by Androom (12 May 2017)


• Adler, Josef, Handbuch der Grabstätten, 2. Band, Die Grabstätte der Europäer, Deutsches Kunstverlag, München, 1986
• Claude Augé (ed.), Larousse Universel en 2 volumes, Librarie Larousse, 1922
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Hortense Schneider — Wikipédia

Schneider, Magda

Published: 4 Jun 2017
Last update: 9 Jun 2017