“An extraordinary work...insanely sumptuous, near-definitive…” exclaimed The Independent in 1980 about Oscar-winning film director John Schlesinger’s recent production of The Tales of Hoffmann. In 2016, this revival production passed any test of comparison to the original production with flying colors, featuring a spectacular cast of stars (including Vittorio Grigòlo, Thomas Hampson, and Sonya Yoncheva) who together brought to life the many fascinating characters of Hoffman’s three autobiographical tales, all set in a typical 19th-century German tavern.
Jacques Offenbach composed the score of this "fantastical opera" during the last ten years of his life and left it unfinished: its 1880 premiere included numerous modifications, with each successive production following in that mold until eventually a definitive version entered the operatic canon. Offenbach considered the opera his musical testament, suffusing it with lush melodies that remain unsurpassed to this day.
Lotfi Mansouri, Maurizio Arena – With Plácido Domingo and Shirley Verrett – San Francisco Opera
Carlo Rizzi, Nikolaus Lehnoff – With Eva-Maria Westbroek (Minnie), Lucio Gallo (Jack Rance) and Zoran Todorovich (Dick Johnson) – De Nederlandse Opera