VIENNESE Operetta started as a direct result of Offenbach's international popularity. In the 1860s his Parisian operettas were having a tremendous vogue in Vienna. In fact, Offenbach became a positive culture there. As his operettas became more and more successful, Offenbach demanded higher and higher terms, until the Viennese theatre managers groaned under the tyranny of his rule and though it high time this invading Napoleon of operetta was dethroned. But who was the man to do it? Franz von Suppé was the first composer to make the attempt with an operetta Das Pensionat. But he failed to dislodge Offenbach. The man who succeeded him was Johann Strauss, the composer of the popular Blue Danube waltz. At the age of forty-five, under pressure from the Viennese manager, Maximilian Steiner, and his own wife, the singer Jenny Treffz, he gave up an enormously successful career as dance-band conductor and composer to compose his first operetta Indigo, or The Forty Thieves, produced in 1870.
EVEN Offenbach had seldom scored such a triumph. There followed fifteen Johann Strauss operettas which included the incomparable Die Fledermaus. Johann Strauss' association with the dance band naturally resulted in his exploiting in his operettas the rhythms of the dance. And so it was that the waltz became the staple ingredient not only of Johann Strauss' operettas, but also those of his followers. Viennese Operetta is divided into two periods: the "Classical", which includes the works of Johann Strauss, Franz von Suppé, Karl Millöcker, Karl Zeller and Richard Heuberger; and the "Modern", which includes Franz Lehár, Leo Fall, Oscar Strauss and Emmerich Kálmán.