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Les Contes d’Hoffmann

by Jacques Offenbach



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Offenbach died without having completed Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and there have been a number of different versions of it performed over the years.






A popular recording of the opera stars Joan Sutherland, Plácido Domingo, and Gabriel Bacquier, with L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Richard Bonynge.  Available from


My favorite recording uses the latest version of Michael Kaye’s edition of the opera.  The recording stars Roberto Alagna, José Van Dam, Natalie Dessay, Leontina Vaduva, and Sumi Jo, with the Orchestre et Choeur de l’Opéra National de Lyon conducted by Kent Nagano.  Available from




The Tales of Hoffmann--Criterion Collection

"As adaptations go, this 1951 film is the best compromise currently available on video and will always be a classic in its own right, even when a more faithful treatment becomes available. It drops some of Offenbach's music and includes some that is spurious, and it changes the plot (Hoffman's beloved Stella is made a dancer--Moira Shearer--not a singer). But at least it treats the story with affection, imagination, and technical expertise. The music presents only highlights of the score, but it is in the hands of a great conductor, Sir Thomas Beecham. The movie is essentially the work of the same team that produced The Red Shoes (directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger); it has the same kind of imaginative appeal and its technical resourcefulness is still exciting, still on the cutting edge despite its age. I expect eventually to add a more faithful Tales of Hoffmann to my video collection, but I will never stop enjoying this one. "--Joe McLellan at

December 2009
Musicologist: Met Opera's new "Hoffmann" production short on scholarship

In March 2010, the Zurich Opera will mount a new production of HOFFMANN, with Vittorio Grigolo singing the title role for the first time in his career.





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jrpsong La Périchole page


Reproduction of 1951 movie poster


1951 movie The Tales of Hoffmann on video at