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4.5 out of 5 stars23
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 2 May 2009
I was lucky enough to have seen this on BBC live from the Royal Opera House and although it was many years ago it still remains a favourite of mine. Having the three wonderful sopranos as opposed to the usual one added a dimension note seen since, as far as I am aware. And Placido Domingo was at his best during this period. Excellent DVD.
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on 3 December 2013
I will start off with the bad news, the picture quality is not good, particularly in long shot, but this is a 1981 production. There is no booklet and the arias etc. are listed inside the sleeve. The notes on the rear cover are scanty and give poor credit to the excellent cast, and ignore most completely.
Now to the good bits, the sets and stagings are excellent, and the dolby sound is very good.
Domingo is the best Hoffman in the five versions that are in my collection, and the rest are not bad.
Claire Powell is an excellent Nicklaus, she has a very pleasing mezzo and despite this being a strong role she has no mention on the sleeve.
The set for the prologue is a rough and ready bar with a balcony and an exuberant set of students. Robert Lloyd also makes an excellent Councillor Lindorf, his costume and presentation are very impressive.
The set of act one, Spalanzis house is full of scientific symbols and charts , which as the act continues opens up to reveal an impressive house. This act belongs to Luciana Serra, her portrayal of Olympia is unequalled in automotive movement, and the bisque complexion is very good. Her song is definitely a highlight of the whole production.
Geraint Evans as Coppelius is of course quite brilliant and his costume a work of amusing art.
There are some beautiful costumes in the party scene, and one or two clever touches like the photographer.
Act two has a sumptuous set for the courtesans, Agnes Baltsa and Claire Powell perform a memorable Barcarolle. Domingo and Baltsa perform some impassioned singing. Nimsgern " the diamond " aria is also memorable. The act is well staged with some unexpected coming and going and a good swordfight.
The set for the house of Antonia and her father is a sombre affair, in keeping with the overall mood of act three. Ileana Cotrubas is in fine voice, Ghiuselev is a sinister Dr Miracle and makes some unexpected entrances and exits. Worthy of mention is the cameo of Bernard Dickerson as Frantz.
The epilogue is back in the bar, where Hoffmans dreams are explained. In a final moment of exquisite beauty Nicklaus is transformed into the Muse.
Even if you have other versions I suggest that you should add this to your collection.
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on 24 March 2012
The many five star ratings for this production are amply justified. Production values(traditional), music and singing are at a very high standard. The direction for video is by the very experienced and capable Brian Large although this was quite an early outing for this master of the craft. The programme notes are minimal in the extreme. Fortunately there are at least chapter headings but there is only very limited information about the opera. Only the actual stars are named from the large cast and here serious omissions include Robert Tear as Spalanzini, Claire Powell as Nicklaus and Gwynne Howell as Crespel which are large parts.

Rightly Placido Domingo has received great praise for his fine central performance but the production is also well served by his three great loves. Luciana Serra delivers a beautifully sung and acted Doll's Song; Agnes Baltsa is totally believable as the courtesan Giulietta and Ileana Cotrubas brings a fragile vulnerability to the doomed Antonia. Among the great sopranos of the 1970s & 1980s this performer had few rivals in conveying pathos.

Trottman
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on 26 August 2002
Placido Domingo leads an all round excellent cast. The singing is of a very high standard, and it is very well staged and produced.
I would recommend this to any opera lover, even if they are unfamiliar with this work.
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on 13 July 2012
Shot in the days when we did not have sharp picture definition this production is a total triumph. I was at Covent Garden the first night it opened and it was the most electrifying production.
Agnes Baltsa for me is the supreme crowning achievement of this production. Every gesture, toss of the head and movement conveys the manipulation of Hoffman and the intoxifying mix of the bizarre and the human.
A triumph and don't let any one tell you otherwise.
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on 19 July 2010
Probably one of the greatest opera performances and recordings ever. I was not lucky enough to be there but instead it caught my ear as I was listening to the BBC Radio 3 live broadcast. Astonishing singing and great that there is at least a DVD recording as I cannot find a CD recording.
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on 6 March 2012
I cannot think of any weaknesses on the part of the cast performing this opera. One would not expect anything but a first class performance from Placido Domingo in the title role and he does not disappoint here. However, it is the supporting roles that make this B.B.C /Covent Garden production a gem. My only criticism is perhaps the picture quality, particularly the stage lighting that could have been better although it was recorded no doubt, on tape, some years ago.
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on 4 July 2013
Offenbach is regarded as a composer of comic opera, Orpheus and so on. The Tales of Hoffman is sometimes put in the same box but it should be taken out wiped and put to sit beside The Magic Flute; sopranos get their moments in the spotlight in both works and the element of fun is prominent. Offenbach's talent for composing a strong melody made him a famous. His talent for producing lively shows made him rich. These are not the the qualities most admired in a creative artist nowadays. So enjoy a superior example of the pleasure of humming the tunes long after you put the DVD back in its box. It will remind you of more expansive times when you didn't wear jeans to the ball and "accessible" meant you could get through the door of the carriage without creasing your crinoline.
Brain Pickering
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on 17 January 2011
Skillfully directed and staged, with excelleny eye for detail. Superbly acted and beautifully sung. This Covent Garden production is unbeatable. Five stars.
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on 27 December 2010
This is the best performance I have seen of this opera !
Every thing about it is first class----the singing, the acting,the scenes are all superb.
I can highly recommend this DVD.
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