3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Justly famous production but pitiable programme notes,
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This review is from: Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann -- Royal Opera House/Pretre [DVD]  [NTSC] (DVD)
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.