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Offenbach: Des Contes D'Hoffmann [DVD] [2001]

Daniel Galvez-Vallejo , José van Dam    Exempt   DVD
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: £24.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Daniel Galvez-Vallejo, José van Dam, Natalie Dessay, Barbara Hendricks, Isabelle Vernet
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: ARTHAUS
  • DVD Release Date: 25 April 2001
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005K3PD
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,583 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Jacques Offenbach's opera is performed by the Lyon Opera. The poet Hoffmann, now pursuing the prima donna Stella, begins an evening's drinking with the tale of his three lost loves. The first was a mechanical doll, Olympia, who was smashed to pieces. The second, Antonia was the daughter of Crespel, and suffered from an ailment related to singing - when the evil Dr Miracle accompanied her on the violin she died. The final lost love, Giulietta, was a courtesan who captured Hoffmann's soul in the form of his reflection.

From Amazon.co.uk

Unfortunately the qualities that make Jacques Offenbach's operetta The Tales of Hoffmann an irresistible melodic profusion of wit, dash and unfailing high spirits are only in evidence in the playing of the Lyon Opera Orchestra under Kent Nagano: operetta, more than its serious cousin, continues to be fair game for the whims of producers and designers. In this case an excellent cast including Daniel Galvez-Vallejo as Hoffmann, Natalie Dessay as Olympia, Brigitte Balley as Nicklausse and Isabelle Vernet as Giulietta, as well as Gabriel Bacquier who sings three roles, are obliged to perform Offenbach's operetta in a lunatic asylum designed by Philippe Starck as a three-dimensional grey set, topped with barbed wire. The production by Louis Erlo adapts and cuts scenes to fit this concept, so the tavern scene where Hoffmann sings his celebrated number "The Legend of Kleinzack" disappears, as do the chorus who are banished to the wings. In this environment there's no room for charm or even a kind of mad-hatter behaviour. The cast are reduced to stereotypes and of necessity singularly unlovable ones. What a wasted opportunity. The sound is excellent as it is on two fillers: a short film of Penderecki conducting his choral work, The Seven Gates to Jerusalem from the Midem festival at Cannes and a trailer for a Lyon Opera House production of Berlioz's Damnation of Faust. --Adrian Edwards

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Producermania 22 July 2007
Format:DVD
When you have superb conducting and brilliant singing in an opera performance, how can you ruin it? Basically by what you think are bright ideas which are miles away from the wit and cleverness of Offenbach. Don't forget to cut and mess around when you feel like it. This is basically a travesty which is better enjoyed with the eyes closed. Alas poor Offenbach!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mad, bad and dangerous to know 18 Dec 2009
Format:DVD
Over the years I've been lucky enough to see many performances of Hoffmann and I ought to add that I like modern productions as well as traditional ones. But this my friends is an absolute shocker. If you want to see a wonderful opera killed by bad direction and grim scenery look no further. This is the ideal present for an opera fan you happen to hate. The best production? Andrei Serban's for the Wiener Staatsoper - alas not on dvd as far as I'm aware. Pick any other but please, not this! Poor Natalie Dessay. I hope the fee was some compensation...
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Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Another reviewer described this as a “brilliant performance of Offenbach’s classic opera”: well, yes and no: a brilliant performance, but not of “Offenbach’s classic opera” – for that, look elsewhere. SToH is an adaptation (it’s not merely abridged) of Michael Kaye’s edition of the score and runs for a little under 2 hours, whereas The Tales of Hoffmann (TToH) runs for 2¾: there are changes throughout and the epilogue is completely different: Hoffmann, perhaps, but nobody’s best guess of what Offenbach envisaged. If you don't think that mucking about with opera is ever permissible, then this is not for you - but you're missing out on something superbly performed and absolutely fascinating.
In whatever edition, TToH is not a pretty opera: it involves bribery, binge drinking, fraud, deception, wanton destruction, the dark arts, induced hallucination, murder, prostitution, Satanism, further killing, betrayal and Hoffmann’s complete drunkenness: he is redeemed (or forfeits any meaningful human relationship for the sake of Art – capital “A”) by his Muse, who, as Nicklausse, has accompanied him throughout. Pretty sets and costumes? Are you serious?
In TToH, Hoffmann recollects his past loves and how his Nemesis has frustrated each of them: SToH re-enacts them using the inmates and staff of an asylum where Hoffmann is confined (shades of Peter Weiss’ “Marat/Sade”). The doctor in charge asylum acts as the nemeses (with “Frantz” - the character tenor is unchanged throughout - as his sidekick), another plays the “father-figure” roles and Schlemil, a third Giulietta. Antonia, Olympia and all other parts are played by inmates.
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