[Met Performance] CID:235730
New Production
Les Contes d'Hoffmann {121} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/29/1973.

(Debuts: Huguette Tourangeau, Bliss Hebert, Allen Charles Klein, Catherine Rice Cowan
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 29, 1973
Benefit sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera Guild
for the production funds
New Production


LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN {121}
Jacques Offenbach-Jules Barbier


Hoffmann................Plácido Domingo
Olympia.................Joan Sutherland
Giulietta...............Joan Sutherland
Antonia.................Joan Sutherland
Stella..................Joan Sutherland
Lindorf.................Thomas Stewart
Coppélius...............Thomas Stewart
Dappertutto.............Thomas Stewart
Dr. Miracle.............Thomas Stewart
Nicklausse..............Huguette Tourangeau [Debut]
Muse....................Huguette Tourangeau
Andrès..................Andrea Velis
Cochenille..............Andrea Velis
Pitichinaccio...........Andrea Velis
Frantz..................Andrea Velis
Luther..................Edmond Karlsrud
Nathanael...............Charles Anthony
Hermann.................Russell Christopher
Spalanzani..............Nico Castel
Schlemil................Clifford Harvuot
Crespel.................James Morris
Mother's Voice..........Cynthia Munzer

Conductor...............Richard Bonynge

Production..............Bliss Hebert [Debut]
Designer................Allen Charles Klein [Debut]
Choreographer...........Catherine Rice Cowan [Debut]

Les Contes d'Hoffmann received nineteen performances this season.

[This production was purchased from the Seattle Opera.
Joan Sutherland's costumes were designed by José Varona.]

Production a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel L. Tedlow


Review of Desmond Shawe-Taylor in The New Yorker

As a confirmed admirer of Offenbach's operettas, I keep hoping to see a performance of his more ambitious and romantic" Tales of Hoffmann" that will convert me to that lengthy and disheveled old favorite. Given a resourceful director, a good Hoffmann and a brilliant mechanical doll for the first episode, the evening often starts well enough; boredom threatens in the Venetian scene and can become acute before we see the last of those roistering students in Luther's tavern in the epilogue.

The new production at the Metropolitan Opera, which originated in Seattle some years ago (fanciful, ingenious direction by Bliss Hebert, still more fanciful designs and some remarkably
handsome costumes by Allen Charles Klein), runs true to form, more especially since Joan
Sutherland, its chief raison d'etre, is exceedingly brilliant and funny as Olympia, colorless as the Venetian courtesan (but no one can do much with poor Giulietta, who hasn't even a solo to her name) and ineffective as the consumptive Antonia, whose music needs above all a strong feeling for line and legato as the French understand these things. Placido Domingo was in splendid shape as Hoffmann, singing with a blend of smoothness and passion that was just right; but the poor fellow might surely have been allowed a change of clothes on those long retrospective journeys to Paris, Venice and Munich - he began to look travel-stained. Thomas Stewart offered a broadly effective gallery of assorted villains, but their music doesn't always suit his voice; transposed down by a tone, Dappertutto's "Diamond" aria sounded uncomfortably low for him, yet would probably have been too high at score pitch, with its customary concluding top G-sharp.

Richard Bonynge, who conducted with spirit and considerable skill (he is usually at his best in French music), had prepared an edition that attempts a closer approach than usual to what the composer probably intended -we are obliged to say "probably" because there is no definitive score of this unfinished opera. Spurious recitatives had been jettisoned and spoken dialogue
substituted. In theory, this is dead right; in practice, so much talk in a language that is about equally unfamiliar to actors and audience has a lowering effect on the temperature. Whenever the admirable Huguette Tourangeau spoke up in the role of the hero's faithful chum, Nicklausse (she also sang very well), our spirits correspondingly revived.


Photograph of Joan Sutherland as Olympia in Les Contes d'Hoffmann by Louis Mélançon/Metropolitan Opera.




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