Sunday, 12 February 2012

ENO Tales of Hoffman

Mark Berry in Opera Today :
"......The pipe emblazoned upon the stage curtain and the pipes being smoked by Hoffmann and the students seem to hold the key to the director’s conception. Whatever it is that is being smoked would appear to lie behind the visions. Fair enough, but there is perhaps a little too much of the surface psychedelic, especially during the second (here, first) act, and not enough truly Romantic, Gothic darkness"

Robert Hugill in Planet Hugill:
"The good news is that a pretty full version of the opera was being used, which benefited Christine Rice's Niklausse, enabling Rice to present the fullest possible version of the character complete with the aria in the prologue and a lot else besides. The bad news is that the opera was performed with sung recitatives. No explanation given. That the cast were all English speaking would seem to have been a good opportunity to perform the work with spoken dialogue; in Munich the cast were polyglot and singing in French, so one can understand the desire to use the recitatives. My problem with the recitative version is that of pacing, it seems to inflate things (recitative is inherently slower than dialogue)."

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