Reflecting upon this work, literary critic Enrico Nencioni stated: "Hoffman [...] possesses a purely artistic nature: he is a poet, musician, caricaturist, attentive observer of nature and humanity in its most curious, original, and strange forms". Similar observations perhaps persuaded composer Jacques Offenbach to set his tales to music! He composed The Tales of Hoffmann, a fantasy opera in five acts based on a libretto by Jules Barbier. The posthumous premiere took place on the 10th February 1881 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, and in due time, the score attained an honored place in the pantheon of the most frequently performered works in the operatic repertoire.
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The three acts of The Tales of Hoffmann spotlight three different love stories in the life of Hoffmann, the poet and alter ego of the writer himself. His eyes fall first upon Olympia, who turns out to be a mechanical automaton, then on Antonia, and then again on Giulietta, but each affair is destined to fail. Besides, for an artist, can there be a greater love than his own art? Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann thus ends with Hoffmann’s impassioned declaration to his Muse, his main source of inspiration: “Beloved Muse, I am yours!” If your heart beats for the power of Art, The Tales of Hoffmann shall give you palpitations! On medici.tv, you can find some of the best artists of our time, including Ramón Vargas, Plácido Domingo, and Vittorio Grigolo, projecting their powerful voices in this sublime opera of Jacques Offenbach.