Saturday, February 23, 2013

Les Contes d'Hoffmann on La Rambla

The (re)new production of Les contes d'Hoffmann, directed by Laurent Pelly, is finishing its run tonight [Saturday, Febr 23rd 2013] at the Grand Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and the brilliant Mezzo TV will be live broadcasting this last show to us.

Pelly proved to be particularly doué for staging the works by Offenbach so this may well be a treat for all opera aficionados. Merci Mezzo!

In addition to always excellent conductor, Stéphane Denève, the top-notch cast includes Michael Spyres, Laurent Naouri, Michèle Losier, Natalie Dessay, Kathleen Kim, Tatiana Pavlovskaya, Susana Cordón, Salomé Haller...


  • The show is about to start. In bocca al lupo to all the artists!
  • Nathalie sings Antonia!? Allez, c'est parti!
  • Before overture -- Crudele! (Donna Anna/Stella) -- I love It :) 
  • Listen to Michèle Losier and her perfect French pronunciation! Many French singers could learn  from her.
  •  Laurent Naouri -- brilliant as ever!
  • Pelly's theater is to me a bit obsolete (too much musical theater for my taste) but the huge quality of his stagings of the works by Offenbach is a great musicality: every gesture, every movements of the actors, extras, sets, props... seems like choreographed. Good job!
  • Spyres singing Il était une fois à la cour d'Eisenach with great stamina (et sans 'r' roulé). American tenors rule!

  •  So far so (very) good! Tricky --Olympia-- parts coming!
  • Rien de plus beau que la physique! :)

  • Here comes Olympia!

  • Les oiseaux dans la charmille  Brava Kathleen Kim! She sang the whole aria while pulled up and down by what we see only in the end is a crane! 
  • Pretty Asian girl with a divine voice -- poor Hoffmann cannot not to fall in love with this... err... doll.

  •  Michael is adding extra high notes -- Wowza!
  • Superb Act 1! Excellent Denève,  brilliantly sung and very well directed!

  • Intermission -- 30 mins. Let's hope Pelly will keep the level this high. 
  • Marthaler will direct the new production of this opera in Madrid next year (2014). That's the one not to be missed.
    Talking about the other production, of what I could see so far the only truly amazing production of this opera is the one by Robert Carsen -- that you can find on DVD or here:

  •  Ah so.... this production is in fact a re-creation of the original production that Laurent Pelly presented 10 years ago at Opéra de Lyon. Apparently they really reworked it thoroughly: spent 5 weeks rehearsing on the sets!
  • Nice interview with Michael Spyres: to me he is a perfect voice for this super-tricky role. He's not shouting but has stamina to go big when needed. He's capable to bring the subtle emotional lines with unusual softness -- something no other Hoffmans today can do. Go Michael!
  •  Act - 2: Elle a fui, la tourterelle
  • Nathalie Dessay -- Antonia

  • Nathalie sounds OK. From what I could read recently I expected her to be much in much less good vocal shape. Her last great singing was that Cleopatra at the premiere of Giulio Cesare in Paris.  Anyway, here she sounds good!
  • Michael is a wonderful, wonderful singer!  Very nicely sung  duet! >



  1. Is there somewhere I might see a video of the last half hour - had power cut and lost my Mezzo connection !

    1. If you send me an e-mail, I guess I might be able to help you ;)

  2. Many expected Natalie to sing the Olympia, but she offered an excellent and very soulful Antonia. Brava! I attended the premiere and had to experience a nervous Hoffmann, but his performance was o.k. (No applause for the Klein Zach, which is very rare) Surprisingly the Barcelona audience did not seem to appreciate the excellent voices and the brilliant orchsstra. Far too few rounds of scenic applause (except for Olympia´s aria).