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Jacque Offenbach: Les contes d'Hoffmann (2009)

Marc Laho , Nicolas Cavallier , Olivier Py , Philippe Beziat  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Marc Laho, Nicolas Cavallier, Maria Riccarda Wesseling, Rachel Harnisch, Patricia Petibon
  • Directors: Olivier Py, Philippe Beziat
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Bel Air Classiques
  • DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 171 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0027YUKKM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,100 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Filmed in high definition at the Grand Theatre de Geneve, 10/2008.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Turn out the Lights December 5, 2009
By Richard
Verified Purchase
This production from the Geneva is about the most complete version we are likely to find today. It greatly expands the Guiletta act although it leaves out the Diamond aria which was not put there by Offenbach to begin with. The singers and the musical production are very good.
The problem is the stage production. Olivier Py locates the opera in Offenbach's time when Paris was the city of lights. So most of the production has hundreds of white lights making up the set. They go on and off and form all sorts of dislays. The set moves quite frequently.
The problem is that at least for me I have no idea what is is supposed to mean. It often doesn't serve the opera. And the Antonia act is so dark you can't see the singers. If you want a traditional Hoffman try the ROH with Domingo and directed by John Slessinger. For a more modern touch there is the Paris Opera version which takes place in the Paris Opera House.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Adult Hoffmann January 14, 2011
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Where do I begin! For starters, this is the Fritz Oeser version performed here,claiming Five Acts. Well in fact it is three acts with prologue & epilogue.
Secondly; you need to be very broad minded as this production contains nudity.
This production explores the darker side of Hoffmann.
The staging is quite staggering and elaborate with its illuminating rotating mechanical sets and multi-layered stage. The costumes are quite inventive and fit in quite well. Those of you who have read my reviews in the past will be aware that I do not like modern productions of opera. I was convinced that I would not like it. But after watching it, I had to concede it actually worked. The image and sound quality is exceptional; which brings me to the cast; most of whom are unknown to me. Marc Laho (Hoffmann) is new to me and is well cast in the title role. His tone seems to be nurtured for this part. Stella Doufexis (Muse/Nicklause) what can I say. This woman is incredible. She has more to sing than anyone and the voice is as fresh at the end as it is in the beginning. Nicolas Cavallier (the four protagonists) holds his own throughout the production, using his stage craft to good advantage. In this production there are four individual women playing the roles of Olympia (Patricia Petibon), Antonio (Rachel Harnish), Giuletta (Maria Riccarda Wesseling) & Stella (Delphine Beaulieu) each brilliant in their respective roles. Eric Huchet (the four tenor comique parts) is brilliant to say the least. The remaining cast members & chorus are equally convincing.
You really have to see this version to appreciate it. It would take pages for me to explain it fully, but if an old traditionalist like me can enjoy it and I would happily have paid top dollar to see it; you should not have any trouble. Because of the nudity, I would restrict children from watching it as this really is an adults only version portrayed here. Buy, enjoy and see Hoffmann in a different light.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed but Wonderful Hoffmann February 22, 2010
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For some inexplicable reason this item is not availble through Amazon, but only their sellers. Inexplicable because this item is less than six months old.

To be honest I dithered about purchasing it; of the singers I knew only three Petibon, Laho, and Denize. A clip of Petibon's Olympia was available for awhile on YouTube, I knew Denize from a production of the Carmelites, and Laho from a Glyndeboune production of Le Conte Ory. This is the only avaible DVD of the work, and Laho is hardly competition for Juan Diego Florez--a valiant attempt, but falling far short of the mark. Ultimately I decided to take the plunge and get it and as it turned out I made a wise decision. A bonus is a documentary of the making of the production. I found it extremely interesting. The conductor. Patrick Devin is quite aware of the "new" music that has been discovered so that while there is an editorial choice to be made, envitably no two Hoffmann's will be alike. The Diamond aria has been deleted, but the Barcarolle has been retained. Niklausse now has more music to sing and the role has become a major one. Even though this is not Paris it was performed in Geneva and is hence the most "French" Hoffmann in the catalogue and for me this is a major plus. Laho will never be accused of having a beautiful voice, but for much of the time he is up to the challenges as is Stella Doufexis, as Niklausse and the Muse. Petibon is a wonderful Olympia and is quite up to the difficulties of the role. Indeed that can be said of the remainder of the cast. Patrick Devin establishes brisk gallic tempi, but never at the expense of thse passages where explansiveness is needed. I must mention Nicolas Cavallier who sings all four villains. As Hoffmann's nemesis he is superb.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of music and lots of powerful entertainment March 23, 2010
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This is a very sexy, dark, death-ridden conception of this great opera. Also, as others have said, one of the most complete musically, basically following the (somewhat flawed) Oeser edition. The singing is generally very good, the orchestra lively, loud and appropriately driven. I think Olivier Py's dark vision of the work is extremely effective in some parts and a little over-the-top in others (in the Giulietta act, for instance, the sex seems rather aimless and comes, I feel, at the wrong place). But of the 9 DVDs of this opera I own this is certainly at or near the top, partly because it really makes you think about what this fantastic array of stories and songs could possibly mean, both in Offenbach's time and today.
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