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The muse emerges from a barrel – a wine barrel, to be precise, which in Offenbach’s final opera is the story of the poet Hoffmann’s life. In his fateful, inebriated fug he concocts three tales relating his unluckiness in love for three women, an artistic automaton (Olympia), a damsel (Antonia) and a courtesan (Giulietta).

Heather Engebretson als Olympia, Robert Watson als Hoffmann
Heather Engebretson als Olympia, Robert Watson als Hoffmann Bettina Stöß

Three women – or maybe just one after all? Stella, a star in the operatic firmament, is feted for her onstage performance as Donna Anna while Hoffmann, now a ruin of a man, drowns his woes at Lutter & Wegner.

In LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN Jacques Offenbach, the undisputed king of opéra bouffe, took a sober, serious musical approach that bears his unmistakeable signature. E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tales, adeptly woven into a storyline suitable for opera, provide a panopticon of aesthetic concerns and reflect – by turns grotesquely and tragically – the splendour and penury of the art world and its players.

French theatre and opera director and costumer Laurent Pelly brings his internationally hailed production to Berlin. Darky playful and set against fantastical backdrops and stirring chorus formations, this version renders the story of Hoffmann’s descent into madness and intoxication in faithful detail. Enrique Mazzola, already familiar to Deutsche Oper Berlin audiences as a leading interpreter of French repertory, is at the conductor’s stand.

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Additional information
Opera fantastique in five acts; Libretto by Jules Barbier based on the drame fantastique by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, edited by Michael Kaye and Jean-Christophe Keck; First performed on 10th February, 1881 in Paris; A co-production of Opéra National de Lyon with Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona and San Francisco Opera, premiered on 19th November 2005; Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 1st December, 2018

Recommended from 15 years on

45 minutes before beginning: Introduction (in German language)
Participating artists
Markus Stenz (Musikalische Leitung)
Laurent Pelly (Inszenierung, Kostüme)
Chantal Thomas (Bühne)
Agathe Mélinand (Librettoversion und Dialoge)
Joël Adam (Licht)
Jean-Jacques Delmotte (Kostümmitarbeit)
Charles Carcopino (Video)
Jeremy Bines (Chöre)
Robert Watson (Hoffmann)
Kathryn Lewek (Olympia, Antonia, Giulietta, Stella)
Byung Gil Kim (Lindorf, Coppélius, Miracle, Dapertutto)
Stephanie Lauricella (La Muse, Nicklausse)
Andrew Dickinson (Andrès, Cochenille, Frantz, Pitichinaccio)
Irene Roberts (La Voix de la mère)
Jörg Schörner (Spalanzani)
Andrew Harris (Mâitre Luther / Crespel)
Dean Murphy (Hermann)
Joel Allison (Schlemil)
Kieran Carrel (Nathanael)
Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin (Chöre)
Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin (Orchester)
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Deutsche Oper Berlin