Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Offenbach - Les Contes d'Hoffmann / Shicoff Swenson Terfel Rancatore Mentzer Uria-Monzon Senechal Gubisch Lopez Cobos Paris Opera|
The Tales of Hoffmann
Actors: Neil Shicoff, Bryn Terfel, Susanne Mentzer, Ruth Ann Swenson, Beatrice Uria-Monzon
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Good, but not great
Roberto Milagro | Santa Fe | 08/13/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Neil Shicoff IS Hoffmann, and far superior to Domingo and certainly Kraus, both of them too old to carry it off. The 20's dress staging is ok and not as anachronistic as it seems on first view. Nicklausse (Mentzer) is weak; Terfel is outstanding. It is time we had a new Tales. The very best by far was the Met's 1988 production with Shicoff (I have a tape, but it is quickly going bad). Maybe the new Met production later this year will provide a worthy Tales."
Modernized, but not Eurotrashy, with incandescent singing
D. Layman | Elizabethtown, PA United States | 10/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The singing is uniformly excellent; other reviewers have more expertise in evaluating the technique. Shicoff sustains the energy throughout the performance; Terfel delivers awesome tone and power; all the female leads give exemplary performances, with my special favorites being Rancatore as Olympia, and Uria-Monzon as the prostitute Giuletta.
The production is modern, but not trashy. After all, Les Contes d'Hoffman is fantasy. It works as well in 21st century dress as in the 18th or 19th century. And Olympia in act 1 is, after all, simply the concept of a computer-machine in a human body, a thoroughly 21st century idea. (Rancatore plays this concept to the hilt, assisted by Christian Jean, playing the crazy inventor, who operates Olympia via remote control.) So there is no reason while the opera cannot be placed in modern times.
The tiny bit of "nudity" others complain about is *pretend*: Rancatore is encased in a skin-colored shell, exactly like the body of the doll Olympia is. The water scene in Act 3 is indeed replaced by a theater, but at the opening of the act, the rows of seats are moving back and forth, exactly as they would be doing if the tops of the rows were instead waves on a fake theater lake. So here we have multiple levels of pretend: the rows pretend to be the waves on a lake, as they would be represented in (poorly recreated) theater scenery.
But the singing shines. And that is what matters. Highly recommended"