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Offenbach: The Tales of Hoffmann Box set, Import
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Top Customer Reviews
Domingo as Hoffmann leaves nothing to be desired. He was quite young when this recording was made, and has no trouble at all with the high tessitura of the part. He sings here as I have rarely heard him sing before and with such careful attention to the music and his role that he makes Hoffmann come alive -- something I have not witnessed any other Hoffmann to do.
Sutherland, singing the four heroines, tackles an extremely difficult part with her trademark agility. Nothing seems too difficult for her: her coloratura passages as Olympia shimmer and sparkle in the midst of their preciseness, and she sings Giulietta, the courtesan, with powerful conviction.
However, I believe it is in the "Antonia" act that she sings the best. The quality of the music in this act is far above the others, for some reason, and Sutherland takes advantage of this at every moment. Every note is a polished jewel; intengrity, musicality and convicted singing blend beautifully and effortlessly. She *becomes* Antonia, and sings the highly complex passages as if it were no more difficult than rolling out of bed.
Gabriel Bacquier as the four villians, and Hugette Tourangeau as Nicklausse/The Muse are perfectly casted in their roles. Tourangeau was especially good.Read more ›
Enough of my babbling though, the half-inch libretto/booklet will tell you all about Offenbach's life, this work, and Bonynge's work with it. And not to mention it's in German, French, and English. So is the libretto.
As for the recording itself, it's considered a classic. And rightfully so, because Bonynge has made wise decisions with the score, whether big or small, to create the most pleasing and entertaining version of the opera, while correcting some of the long-adhered amendments people had made along the way. The main reason I was attracted to this recording was my love of Dame Joan Sutherland though. I knew that this was an opera that absolutely showcased a soprano and all her abilities... drama, coloratura, and ultimately a beautiful voice. And who better at the time to choose than La Stupenda?Read more ›
Especially Domingo is enormous, maybe unsurpassed in this role and Sutherland unbelievable in all her different characters.
Go for it!
The Sill's version is also very good. But it is tame next to this one. The singing is just not nearly as glorious. Compare Sill's Olympia especially is evidence that she is not nearly the quintessential coloratura as Sutherland. Sutherland's "Doll Song" is amazing. Its display of coloratura is unprecedented and incomparable. Domingo's vocal splendor is equally phenomenal.
This is an essential recording. No opera collection is complete without it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just a wonderful performance and recording. Sutherland is on her game in the multiple lead soprano roles. Enjoy.Published 6 months ago by Robert S. Porter (email@example.com)
Years ago while living in Minneapolis I heard portions of this recording played because the Met was bring the Tales of Hoffmann to Northrop Auditorium on the U of M campus. Read morePublished on October 29, 2013 by T. E. Layman
This is a strange and engaging piece, and this is, so far, the only version I know. I'm not totally happy with some aspects of it. Read morePublished on May 29, 2013 by Stanley Crowe
I usually do not like French operas with the same enthusiasm as Italian operas, because of the nasal sound. Read morePublished on March 10, 2013 by Lorenzo
If you're looking for just background music, then you may find this album a little jarring at times because of the occasional laughter. Read morePublished on November 3, 2012 by Rebecca H
Although there are several recordings of Les Contes d'Hoffmann in the catalogue, and I don't claim to have heard even a representative sample, I doubt few of them surpass this... Read morePublished on June 8, 2012 by G.D.
Excellent clearly sound.
"manual: contain three language version (English, German, French) subtitle for listening and understanding story If you cannot understand French (or... Read more