As far as other productions of this wonderful opera go, I do prefer the 1981 Covent Garden production. However, this 2000 one is still a lot of fun. My only criticism is Marcus Haddock's Hoffmann, he does sing wonderfully but his acting is I agree rather colourless for my tastes.That said, the costumes are wonderful, the story is still compelling with intriguing characters and the music especially Barcarolle, Scintille Diamont and the Doll song is magnificent.The orchestra are superb as is the conducting. The performances Haddock aside are excellent. Beatrice Uria-Manzon and Lechrina Valova are alluring and sing absolutely beautifully, and Jose Van Dam is superb in the four bass-baritone roles shining particularly as Lindorf and Dappertutta. The best come from Angelika Kirchschlager's magnificent Nickolause and Natalie Dessay whose brilliant technique and truly gifted skill for acting is put to perfect use in the Doll song, which is very funny and imaginatively staged.Overall, a lot of fun. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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