The Tales of Hoffmann is Offenbach’s glorious final masterpiece and it has never before been seen in Santa Fe. Tenor Paul Groves stars in the title role, the poet who duels with the unscrupulous Councilor Lindorf over the most glittering of all prizes—the opera star Stella. This new production, conducted by Stephen Lord and directed by Christopher Alden, features Erin Wall as the four heroines, Kate Lindsey as Nicklausse, and Wayne Tigges as the four villains.
Performance dates: July 17, 21, 30; August 3, 7, 11, 17, 24, 28
Composed by Jacques Offenbach
Sung in French
Edition by Michael Kaye and Jean-Christophe Keck.
The opera takes place in a tavern in Nuremburg. Hoffmann is accompanied by his friend Nicklausse, who sometimes appears to him in the guise of his Muse.
The Muse announces that she wishes for the poet Hoffmann to reject his sensual loves and belong solely to her. Councilor Lindorf has discovered that the opera singer Stella is planning a post-performance rendezvous with Hoffmann. Lindorf is also enamored of Stella and is determined to keep the assignation himself. During the intermission of Don Giovanni at the adjacent theater, the crowd implores Hoffmann to entertain them with a song and he obliges with “The Ballad of Kleinzach.” Hoffmann identifies Lindorf as the man who is always interfering in his love affairs, then agrees to tell the story of his three great loves.
Act I Olympia
Olympia—a mechanical doll who could sing with extraordinary skill—was the creation of the inventor Spalanzani and Coppelius, his former business partner. Coppelius sells Hoffmann a pair of spectacles which convince the wearer that Olympia is in love with him. At a dinner party, Olympia sings spectacularly but her mechanism keeps winding down, forcing Spalanzani to keep turning the key in her back to recharge her. Much enamored with Olympia, Hoffmann dances with her until she spins out of control, causing Hoffmann’s glasses to break. Coppelius, who has been cheated by Spalanzani out of his share of the profits from the invention of Olympia, arrives in a fury and destroys the doll.
Act II Antonia
Antonia is a young singer, whose mother, also a singer, died of consumption. Crespel, her father, has shut her away, begging her to abandon her love for Hoffmann and to give up singing, which he believes killed her mother. Hoffmann arrives and sings a passionate duet with Antonia, who nearly collapses. Crespel returns and Hoffmann is forced to hide. The charlatan Dr. Miracle, whom Crespel believes helped kill Antonia’s mother, arrives and claims he can cure Antonia. Crespel forces him out and departs, which leaves Hoffmann alone with Antonia. He implores her to give up singing and she reluctantly agrees. Hoffmann then leaves and Dr. Miracle returns. The doctor conjures up the voice of Antonia’s dead mother, which implores the girl to sing with her. Urged on by Dr. Miracle’s demonic violin playing, mother and daughter sing together until Antonia faints. Crespel and Hoffmann return and discover Antonia near death; Hoffmann calls out for a doctor and Dr. Miracle reappears, pronouncing the girl dead.
Act III Giulietta
The Venetian courtesan Giulietta introduces Hoffmann to her current lover, Schlemil. The poet is unaware that Giulietta is in league with Dapertutto, who utilizes her to seduce wealthy young men who eventually lose their souls as well as their money to her. Nicklausse warns Hoffmann about the dangers Giulietta represents, but he is already falling under her spell. Dapertutto offers Giulietta a large diamond if she will steal Hoffmann’s reflection. Hoffmann kills Schlemil in a duel, and takes the key to Giulietta’s boudoir from his neck. She urges him to flee, but he declares his passion for her. After a rapturous duet, she asks for a remembrance—his reflection—and he agrees. A crowd arrives and Hoffmann is arrested for Schlemil’s murder. He breaks away from the guards and attempts to stab Giulietta. Dapertutto blinds Hoffmann, who accidentally stabs Pitichinaccio instead.
Exhausted and drunk, Hoffmann has finished the tale of his three loves. The Muse returns and encourages Hoffmann to pour his energy into poetry. Stella arrives after the performance, surrounded by admirers and looking for Hoffmann, but he barely recognizes her. The poet announces that he is no longer interested in pursuing her, Nicklausse steers her towards Lindorf, and the two depart together.
- Stella/Olympia/ - Erin Wall
- Antonia/Giulietta - Erin Wall
- Nicklausse - Kate Lindsey
- Voice of Antonia's Mother - Jill Grove
- Hoffmann - Paul Groves
- Spalanzani - Mark Schowalter
- Lindorf/Coppelius/ - Wayne Tigges
- Dr. Miracle/Dapertutto - Wayne Tigges
- Andres/Cochenille/ - David Cangelosi
- Frantz/Pittichinaccio - David Cangelosi
- Crespel/Luther - Harold Wilson
- Conductor - Stephen Lord
- Director - Christopher Alden
- Scenic Designer - Allen Moyer
- Costume Designer - Constance Hoffman
- Lighting Designer - Pat Collins
(Voice of Antonia's Mother)
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