Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday at the Opera returns with the Lyric Opera of Chicago's performance of The Tales of Hoffman. Recorded in October, this is Jacques Offenbach's first and last grand opera, with Matthew Polenzani in the title role.

If ever a man was unlucky at love, it’s Hoffmann, the wild-eyed poet who travels the world in search of the ideal woman and ends up thwarted by villains at every turn. First, he’s smitten by Olympia — but discovers she’s nothing more than a mechanical doll. Then, he falls for Antonia, a fragile songstress who’ll die if she sings — and regrettably for him, she does both! Finally he’s seduced by Giulietta — but the treacherous courtesan casts him aside. Impossibly beautiful music (including the famous Barcarolle) combined with flamboyant theatricality


Hoffmann   Matthew Polenzani
The Four Villains  James Morris
Olympia   Anna Christy
Antonia   Erin Wall
Giulietta   Alyson Cambridge
Nicklausse   Emily Fons
Four Servants   Rodell Rosel
Spalanzani   David Cangelosi
Crespel   Christian Van Horn

CONDUCTOR:  Emmanuel Villaume
STAGE DIRECTOR:  Stéphane Roche
CHORUS MASTER:  Michael Black

APPROX. LENGTH:   3 hours 45 minutes

Comments [4]

I heard Kraus at the Met. What grace & elegance! He took a High C at the end of the Kleinsack aria - I haven't anybody do that recently. As for the Diamond aria, well, George London spoiled that for me years ago. Nobody had the Dynamic or vocal range to do that aria justice. Bassos would transpose down bec. the G scared them & baritones sang in original key & murdered the low notes but not London. He had it ALL. But this is a fine performance.

May. 19 2012 04:25 PM

CBC Beautiful weather, as you are. I heardthis one on opening nite in October. Yes, Offenbach does not get enough credit. It is very beautiful with very difficult arias for all but what a treat. Stay well dear CBC.

May. 19 2012 04:19 PM
larry eisenberg from new york city

Offenbach's music, long admired,
And Hoffmann is truly inspired,
All the voices are fine,
As I lie here, supine,
Still, appropriately attired.

May. 19 2012 03:57 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau county

Too bad Offenbach is not given the credit he is due. This opera has great music. Catchy tunes, etc. James Morris sounds like he is bellowing. Maybe it is time for him to go fishing. As for the intermission features, the Lyric Opera is doing the same thing that the Met Opera does. Talk, Talk, talk. Shut up and get on with the opera.
CBC: Hope you are well.

May. 19 2012 01:28 PM

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