Robinson Crusoe Opera by Jacques Offenbach

Offenbach’s Opera Version of Robinson Crusoe

Offenbach score for Robinson Crusoe operaDaniel Defoe’s early novel, Robinson Crusoe, has inspired artists and musicians for generations. Jacques Offenbach (1890–1880) wrote an opéra comique called Robinson Crusoé which was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1867. The opera, while originally on a short run, met with critical and audience acclaim, often performing multiple encores. It continues to e performed in the modern era, most recently at the Iford Arts Festival in 2004 and by the British Royal College of Music in 2019. The French libretto was written by Eugène Cormon and Hector-Jonathan Crémieux.

Although it is based on Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe, the Crusoe opera actually owes more to British pantomime than to the book itself.

You may listen to a few minutes of the Crusoe opera in this brief video:


If you enjoyed this video or found it helpful in understanding the source text, you should check out our other Literature and Composition (E2) videos.


EIL is happy to offer a variety of resources to learn more about Defoe’s most renowned work, Robinson Crusoe, and the various mediums it has been presented in:

If you would like to learn more about the author, we recommend reading the EIL Daniel Defoe Biography.


When will you read Daniel Defoe’s writing in Excellence in Literature?

EIL 2.1 Focus Text: Robinson Crusoe

E2 Module 1 is the focus text for Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe