Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Les Contes d'Hoffmann at the Met

          
   
    Bookmark and Share
  1. #1
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    9,310
    Post Thanks / Like

    Les Contes d'Hoffmann at the Met

    Les Contes d'Hoffmann, opéra fantastique in three acts, a prologue, and an epilogue, sung in French with Met Titles in English, German, and Spanish
    Music by Jacques Offenbach
    Libretto by Jules Barbier, based on the play by Barbier and Michel Carré (itself based on stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann: Der Sandman, Rath Krespel, and Das verlorene Spiegelbild)
    Premiered at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, France, on May 18, 1879

    The Metropolitan Opera, New York City - this review is of the 276th Met performance of this opera, on October 24, 2017, attended in person.

    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, conducted by Johannes Debus
    The Metropolitan Opera Chorus, chorus master Donald Palumbo
    A revival of a production by Bartlett Sher
    Set Designer Michael Yeargan
    Costume Designer Catherine Zuber
    Lighting Designer James F. Ingalls
    Choreographer Dou Dou Huang
    Revival State Director Gina Lapinski

    Cast

    Main roles

    Hoffman, a poet - Vittorio Grigolo
    Olympia, a doll - Erin Morley
    Antonia, a young singer, and Stella, a prima donna - Anita Hartig
    Giulietta, a courtesan - Oksana Volkova
    Lindorf, Coppélius, Dr. Miracle, and Dapertutto - Opera Lively interviewee Laurent Naouri
    The Muse of Poetry, and Nicklausse, Hoffmann's friend - Tara Erraught

    Comprimarios

    Christophe Mortagne, Mark Schowalter, Robert Pomakov, Olesya Petrova, and David Crawford

    ------------

    This is my third time watching this outstanding production by Bartlett Sher. The first and second times in various combinations, three of our most beloved interviewees, Anna Netrebko, Kate Lindsey, and Thomas Hampson sang Antonia, Nicklausse, and the four villains; in addition to these great singers, Joseph Calleja was Hoffmann, and Kathleen Kim was Olympia in one of the shows, with Erin Morley being Olympia (like today) in the other one.

    Therefore, it is hard not to compare. But before I do that, let's talk a little about the physical production. Since it was shown twice on Met Live in HD and dozens of pictures have been printed everywhere, our readers and members must be very familiar with how it looks. Still, there is no fatigue. It still dazzles. It is a very handsome production that works very well and highlights the opera like no other I've seen. I love Les Contes d'Hoffmann, one of my very favorite operas, so I've seen many productions on DVD, streaming, broadcast, and live, and this one is my preferred. Sets, costumes, lighting, blocking, choreography, are all of the highest quality, A+ all around.

    The Met Orchestra very rarely misfires and it didn't today, as usual. Another A+. The conductor did a good job; maybe not as thrilling as when I last saw it with Levine, but with almost nothing wrong, except for a tendency to allow the orchestra to play a bit loud in some parts that could have used a bit of delicacy so that the voices could be best heard (biggest example, the Barcarolle, where the pit was louder than the stage, unlike for example the very soft and delicate performance by the Prague Philarmonia in that famous official Deusche Grammophon video clip with Elina Garanca and Anna Netrebko. So, A, but not A+.



    So, the singing. First of all, we got an announcement that Vittorio Grigolo wanted the public to know that he had a respiratory ailment but decided to sing anyway, and asked for our understanding. Well, while at the beginning of the opera his voice, before warming up, indeed didn't seem to be in great shape, he got better and better and delivered big. My wife said "so this is how he sings when he is sick???" I like this tenor very much, and believe that he is becoming one of the best in his generation. I've seen him live a few times and I'm always very satisfied with his performance. A+. In terms of comparing him with Calleja, they are both equally good, I think.

    Now, seriously, it's not just because I love Kate Lindsey so much as an artist and a person from following her career for a good while already, and especially after my interview with her in Aix-en-Provence, but sorry, Tara Erraught is just not as good as Kate. It's the first time I listen to her live, and I confess that I was very disappointed. Together with Oksana Volkova who murdered the Barcarolle with little elegance and musicality, these two were the two singers who didn't please me. B- for both.

    Erin Morley did a great job as Olympia, and collected the wildest applause from the public, in curtain calls. I'd say she did better than Kathleen Kim, and thus deserves an A++.


    Erin - Photo Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera, used with authorization of the Met Press Department

    Anita Hartig had unstable pitch control when she started singing (which is a pity because her first aria is her best one, "Elle a fui, la tourterelle" but she did become more solid as her act went by, and overall was good (although she has the biggest possible shoes to fill, since Anna Netrebko was the one who did this production before her - and better, of course). B+.


    Anita - Photo Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera, used with authorization of the Met Press Department


    Laurent Naouri was outstanding as usual. He nailed "Scintille, diamant" with perfection. A++ and better than Hampson.

    In summary, the singing tonight had ups and downs. The two principal male singers were excellent, but their female counterparts were mixed, with Erin being phenomenal, Anita being correct, but Tara and Oksana being pale.


    Laurent, Vittorio, and Tara - Photo Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera, used with authorization of the Met Press Department

    Still, regardless of singing woos (maybe the virus that hit Vittorio is going around), this is a very good show that is worth traveling from relatively afar to watch in person (like I just did).
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); October 26th, 2017 at 12:16 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  2. Likes MAuer, Nemorino, Ann Lander (sospiro) liked this post
  3. #2
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    3,632
    Post Thanks / Like
    Super review Luiz. One of my favourites too.

  4. Thanks Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) thanked for this post
  5. #3
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    5,489
    Post Thanks / Like
    Kate Lindsey incarnates Nicklausse for me. All others are bound to disappoint.
    Natalie

  6. Thanks Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) thanked for this post
    Likes Amfortas liked this post
  7. #4
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3,795
    Post Thanks / Like
    And still no DVD of this production, in any of its incarnations, right? Sad.

  8. #5
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    9,310
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    And still no DVD of this production, in any of its incarnations, right? Sad.
    Yes, both earlier versions are available as per-per-view and part of the On Demand subscription (through the Met website), but no DVD.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  9. #6
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    9,310
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Kate Lindsey incarnates Nicklausse for me. All others are bound to disappoint.
    I think Kate pretty much makes of all her roles, one of the best. What an artist!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

Similar Threads

  1. Les Contes d'Hoffmann at the Fletcher Opera Institute - UNCSA in Winston Salem NC USA
    By Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) in forum Opera House & Theater Performance Reviews
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: February 7th, 2014, 05:10 AM
  2. Best performance of the Doll Song in Les Contes d'Hoffmann
    By Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) in forum Singer-oriented Forum
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: June 9th, 2013, 09:45 PM
  3. Les contes d'Hoffmann
    By Walther von Stolzing in forum General Operatic Discussion
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: June 9th, 2013, 02:08 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


free html visitor counters
hit counter




Official Media Partners of Opera Carolina

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Opera Carolina

Official Media Partners of NC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of North Carolina Opera

Official Media Partners of Greensboro Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Greensboro Opera

Official Media Partners of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute and Piedmont Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute
of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Piedmont Opera

Official Media Partners of Asheville Lyric Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Asheville Lyric Opera

Official Media Partners of UNC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of UNC Opera
Dept. of Music, UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences

www.operalively.com

VISIT WWW.OPERALIVELY.COM FOR ALL YOUR OPERA NEEDS