Cher Public

Storm warning

Forget the hurricane preparations for a few hours this afternoon, cher public, and enjoy the live webcast of Les Contes d’Hoffmann from the Komische Oper Berlin, starting at 12:55 PM. Promises the company’s website, “The director himself, Barrie Kosky, will guide you through the evening!” And you can watch the whole thing right here on parterre, right after the jump!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    The full cast list is here:
    https://www.komische-oper-berlin.de/spielplan/les-contes-d-hoffmann/
    Here is the young baritone singing parts of the title role in this new production

  • Quanto Painy Fakor



  • Batty Masetto

    If anybody’s got the time to watch at the moment, this Hoffmann is bonkers and very very interesting.

  • manou

    Completely bonkers -- and Don Giovannied.

    • Batty Masetto

      Has to be one of the most original treatments of Olympia ever.

      • manou

        The music suffers though (not the only one to suffer).

        • Batty Masetto

          Well, it’s apparently the original version of the first part for “baritone,” though he sounded pretty tenorish to me.

  • Ilka Saro

    Pic looks like Harry Potter spending some quality time with Bellatrix Lestrange.

  • Cicciabella

    I couldn’t tune in on time and missed Kosky’s initial guiding words. I have no idea what’s happening, but the performance is high-energy and it certainly holds your attention. I guess Hoffmann looks like Kleinzach, but imagines himself to be the baritone/tenor Hoffmann, but I really have no idea. But now I know there is no reason why Domingo should not still be singing this.

  • manou

    I turned it off now because I could see a naked emperor.

  • Chanterelle

    Tuned in for the last third of Antonia. Iiiiiinteresting version! Is there anything written (preferably in English) about the edition? And does anyone know whether it will be available on demand for some time? Would love to see the whole thing.

  • Milady DeWinter

    OK doppelganger/Kleinzach/Hoffmann…baritone, tenor.

    And someday I’ll hear an Antonia (besides Netrebko) who can sing the C# of the Trio.

    This permutation of the Kaye edition eez a puzzlement.
    On to Venezia. Does this mean we get the florid Giulietta?
    Is that Frantz singing the Les Couplets in the Venetian Scene?
    I don’t know if I’m totally intrigued or totally irritated. Which must be the point.

    • stevey

      Milady, this one’s for you!

      By far my favorite rendition of this wonderful trio- ALL THREE are just SPOT on (and isn’t Malfitano in particular just magnificent here?? What a stunning C#!!!!)

      Hope you enjoy it!

  • Milady DeWinter

    Oh yay, we get the coloratura Giulietta. Nothing says coloratura like cunnilingus.
    Too bad the lady cannot sing it all that well.

  • laddie

    Just saw the last act and I have no idea what is going on but I am fascinated. I hope I can see the entire thing.

    • Cicciabella

      The site of the Komische Oper helps out: “Director Barrie Kosky presents Offenbach’s surreal and fantastical story as the disturbing nightmare of an artist who is in danger of losing ever more of his own self – in a production with only a single soprano in all three female roles, but several performers in the Hoffmann role…
      Hoffmann’s fate comprises three women. Three unhappy love affairs. Or are they in fact three female forms which exist only in Hoffmann’s imagination? – Olympia the doll, Antonia the singer and Giulietta the courtesan. The artificial body without a soul, the artist without a voice, and the seductress without a heart. They not least also represent Hoffmann’s own fears of loss: loss of reality, loss of his own artistic expression, and loss of identity. At the end, Hoffmann must flee as a murderer – flee from himself and his fantasies, which increasingly come to resemble a bad trip.”

      “Nightmare…artist in danger…bad trip” are the key words, I think. I thought the actor did a great job of portraying an artist is great torment. A weird and wonderful production, but the singing did not stand out. Peter Renz as Andrès/Spalanzani/ Pitichinaccio was very good.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Kill Bill -- 3!!! There is really a lot to think about in this production. It really points out how a new dramaturgy has been applied to a masterpiece, and even though there is so much real Offenbach in this performing version created by Kosky, Lenz, and the conductor, there is also so much falsification of the work of Jules Barbier. Some amazing moments for good and bad reasons. I much prefer this sort of work to the crap that Agathe Melinand (for PY) and Herheim did by falsifying the libretto so badly.
    One intermission for this opera is not enough, especially when this Giulietta Act is so rich with the authentic gambling scene, the difficult version of Giulietta’s aria and the real final scene. If only Barbier could have figured more in all of this!!!

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    All that German spoken text by that cretin was excerpted from the writings of E. T. A. Hoffmann and in so doing Babier’s dramaturgy was jettisoned. The violins in the hands of the chorus would have made a greater effect if they were not used in the trio of Hoffmann, Miracle and Crespel. Ultimately, the rising and falling of the wonderful platform became boring.

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      and one could not have cared less about Hoffmann because of all of the liberties taken with the distribution of his part with the constant cackling of that old man. Still, it’s a very good show.

  • Milady DeWinter

    “Nightmare…artist in danger…bad trip” are the key words, I think. I thought the actor did a great job of portraying an artist is great torment. A weird and wonderful production, but the singing did not stand out.--

    --I think that sums it up very well cicciabella; but then again, is that so very different from the themes and vibe of a “standard” Hoffmann? I won’t say “original” because because we all know, ad nauseum by now, there ain’t one.
    The trippy casting, reversing the usual three to one distaff ratio, seems clever but also gimmicky. And the replanting and recontextualizing of familiar music got wearisome. Like the moving table. Still they gave it their all, but not memorably sung. Except “Nuit et jour” in the [now] Venetain Scene. Hilarious.
    The show has a relentless vibe, despite a laugh or three, but Kosky and Lenz’s musical concoction has too many frayed ends at the seams, and the tenor/baritone/actor “out of time” Hoffmann personas, which would work better in a movie, ultimately don’t add to the opera, but distract from it. And it all would have played better if the singing had been brilliant, or at least better than competent.

  • DonCarloFanatic

    A middle-aged hipster in extremis. Usually one has sympathy for Hoffman. Not here.

    I didn’t like it. Except for the Olympia-in-a-box.

    • Cicciabella

      Interesting reaction to the Hoffman character, DCF. I had the opposite reaction: After initially feeling exasperated with the actor Hoffman, I found myself sympathising with him, because most artists are so ordinary when you meet them, even petty and nasty in some cases. There is a big gap between their creative worlds and their real lives. This production showed this gap very well. It was cuckoo, fun theatre. With better singers it could have been more, although I admire any singer who takes on all the heroines, and she had several lovely moments.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    I just hope that the wonderful soprano Nicole Chevalier doesn’t come down with hepatitis or some terrible infection from licking the scenery with her full tongue for so long. Hopefully they will disinfect the Olympia’s box before each performance!

  • Donna Anna

    I got home in time to watch the end of the Antonia act and all of Giulietta. Fascinating, annoying and genuinely compelling Hoffmania. I was especially happy to see the entire melodramme from the Giulietta act; it ups the bizarreometer and is the perfect (and correct) ending.
    Solid singing throughout although I could do without that alte kocker tenor.
    I’d love to hear the baritone segments, not to mention the Olympia act.
    Go read the Hoffman story Don Juan for further clarification. Wonderfully creepy.