The first time I sang in a production of Hoffmann was 2007 in Vienna where I played the four servants. It was a reductive, bizarre, but very enchanting production. I fell in love with the show at that point because it felt like a dream from which I did not want to awake; especially the last act with its gently rocking barcarolle. It’s not an easy show to put on because it’s a big cast and finding someone who can sing the title role can be a struggle, but it’s one of my favourites and I would hope to hear it for the rest of my life.
Posted: 07/02/2013 by
Thomas Glenn, tenor
Natalie Dessay last delighted San Francisco audiences in the title role of 2009's Lucia di Lammermoor and this summer she's back, but not in one of her signature roles. The soprano has appeared as Olympia is Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann
many times, but for this Laurent Pelly production, she decided to mix things up and sing a role she has always wanted to sing, the tragic role of Antonia. In today's blog post, Natalie Dessay answers our 5 questions.
Posted: 07/02/2013 by
Natalie Dessay (Antonia, The Tales of Hoffmann)
The Tales of Hoffmann
has become one of the best-loved specimens of nineteenth-century French opera. Yet it represents an outlier within Jacques Offenbach’s prolific catalogue in its experimentalism with genre as well as its protracted genesis. The composer’s source for the libretto was a play by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, who introduced their five-act “fantastic play” Les Contes d’Hoffmann
in 1851 in Paris, drawing on the wildly imaginative stories by the early-romantic figure E.T.A. Hoffmann.”
Posted: 06/21/2013 by
Mezzo-soprano Irene Roberts
made her Company debut on June 5 as Giulietta in The Tales of Hoffmann
—currently running through July 6. The San Francisco Chronicle
described her performance as "tonally resplendent," while the San Jose Mercury News
gushed that she "dazzled in her company debut; what a plush, opulent voice she has." Prior to opening night, Ms. Roberts answered a few questions for us:
Posted: 06/13/2013 by
San Francisco Opera
How have you prepared for your role as Hoffmann? Have you ever read the original stories that inspired the libretto by E.T.A. Hoffmann?
Owing to the fact that this version of Hoffmann is very different from ones I've been involved with before, there was a lot of new music, and dialogue to learn. As always with languages you don't speak, figuring out the meaning behind the words takes up a lot of time. And that goes not just for what I'm saying, but also for the things that are being said to you by your colleagues. I have read the E.T.A. Hoffmann stories, though I didn't revisit them for this revival here in San Francisco.
Posted: 06/03/2013 by
Matthew Polenzani (Hoffmann, Tales of Hoffmann)