Offenbach - Les contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann) / Pretre, Domingo, Royal Opera Covent Garden [VHS]

 
9780769720401: Offenbach - Les contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann) / Pretre, Domingo, Royal Opera Covent Garden [VHS]

Seeking to exorcise the failure of his current lve affair, the poet Hoffmann tells the tales of his three past loves - the doll-like Olympia, the high-lass courtesan Giulietta, and the ambitious but delicate Antonia - and recalls how each was thwarted by the evil influence of his rival. In this production by the distinguished film director, John Schlesinger, with spectacular designs by Maria Bjornson and William Dudley, Offenbach's nightmarish world is brought to life. The all-star cast is headed by Placido Domingo as Hoffman: his three loves are Ileana Cotrubas, Agnes Baltsa, and Luciana Serra and the manifestations of his rival are sung by Geraint Evans, Robert Lloyd, Siegmund Nimsgern, and Nicola Ghiuselev. The score, which include such favorites as the Barcarolle and the Doll's Song, is conducted by Georges Pretre.

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Review:

This is as good a video of the traditional Tales of Hoffmann as we are ever likely to see. It alters the material Offenbach left when he died, but it is the Hoffmann that audiences have loved for decades in a brilliant all-star production. Plácido Domingo is vocally resplendent and theatrically convincing as the poet Hoffmann enduring one amorous disappointment after another. He is supported by a large, expert, international cast, alert to the opera's wit, horror, and pathos.

Particularly outstanding are Luciana Serra, vocally flawless and visually mechanical as the singing robot Olympia; Ileana Cotrubas as Antonia, who sings herself to death; Claire Powell as Hoffmann's partner Niklausse; and all four of the deep-voiced villains. This production departs from Offenbach's evident intentions particularly in the Venetian act, which it places second rather than last and pads out with material Offenbach never included. These additions, however, include some of the best-loved material in the opera. --Joe McLellan

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ISBN 10: 0769720404 ISBN 13: 9780769720401
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ISBN 10: 0769720404 ISBN 13: 9780769720401
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