Les Contes d'Hoffmann

Jacques Offenbach (1819 – 1880)

Information on the piece

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
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 1st December, 2018

Recommended from 14 years on

3 hrs 50 mins / 2 intervals

In French with German and English surtitles

45 minutes before beginning: Introduction (in German language)

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About the performance

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). 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.

Our articles on the subject

Hoffmann’s strolls
In conversation with Laurent Pelly
Eight questions for ... Kathryn Lewek
Sim Sala Oper

Our recommendations

Carmen
Don Quichotte
Hérodiade (concert version)

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Newsletter

03
DEC

Today we are giving away 2 x 2 free tickets for the performance of DIE FLEDERMAUS on 31 December 2022 at 7.30 pm. If you would like to take part in the prize draw, please send an e-mail today to marketing@deutscheoperberlin.de with the subject "Das 3. Fensterchen".

In 2018, the curtain rose on a new production of FLEDERMAUS directed by Rolando Villazón. For the busy singer, director, presenter and author, this production was a matter close to his heart, as he was able to play with comic elements in Strauss’ master operetta on the one hand, but also give space to the melancholic and thoughtful on the other. For Strauss's operetta is about cheating, underground parties and the beguiling power of champagne, but also about the description of social facades and above all the abysses that lurk at the back of the bourgeois salon. And because there is always betrayal, partying and drinking, Villazón sets the three acts in three different times and takes the audience on a journey from the 19th century through the 1950s to the future.

It was already a novelty in 1874 at the Theater an der Wien that the waltz king Johann Strauss presented a plot that was not set in mythical faraway places or in fantasy states, but took the upper middle-class salon as its starting point. The bourgeois audience saw itself, with all its conceit, its double standards, grotesquely distorted on stage. The story was not new, of course: Strauß and his collaborator Genée drew on a French tabloid comedy by the Offenbach librettists Meilhac and Halévy, but supplemented it with piquant details. For example, the appearance of the disguised Rosalinde at Prince Orlofsky's ball. In general, the intensification and centring of the plot on the masquerade party with the final homage to alcohol, the general fraternisation and the champagne-loving du-i-du is due to Genée. Otherwise, the farce about cheating has all the ingredients of a good comedy: The rebellious chambermaid, the hidden lover, the self-adulterous but jealous husband and the disguised countess.

Burkhard Ulrich, Hulkar Sabirova, Annika Schlicht, Attilio Glaser, Padraic Rowan, Thomas Lehman, Jörg Schörner, Meechot Marrero, Kathleen Bauer and Ingo Paulick sing and play for you under the musical direction of Yi-Chen Lin.



Closing date: 3 December 2022. The winners will be informed by e-mail on 5 December 2022. The tickets will be sent to you by e-mails. The legal process is excluded.