The Missing Manuscript

The story of The Tales of Hoffmann, by Jacques Offenbach

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Program notes

The Tales of Hoffmann (Les Contes d'Hoffmann) was first performed on February 10, 1881, at Paris's Opéra Comique. Offenbach had labored over his great work for almost a decade, but died on October 5, 1880, just months before its première.

Over the years, the score would be unscrupulously modified, cut, transformed, and would vanish and reappear several times, at several different spots around the globe. This musical mystery recounts the history of the missing manuscript showing the roles of all involved: score owners, music publishers, eminent musicologists, opera directors, conductors, stage directors, etc, from Paris to New York via Hamburg and Burgundy. Excerpts from the most beautiful productions of The Tales of Hoffmann as well as historical archive material are intercut with the interviews.

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