I saw this for two primary reasons, Placido Domingo and the fact I am very fond of the opera itself. Both did not disappoint. Offenbach's music is a gem. As much as I love the Barcarolle and the Doll's Song, it is a shame that the rest of the music isn't as fondly remembered, asides from those two(which are deservedly the standouts of course) there are some truly beautiful moments.
The singing I had no problem with either. Domingo is wonderful as Hoffmann, not just when he is a drunk but in the 3 stories too. He sings absolutely beautifully and demonstrates a very strong acting ability. The Doll's Song is a true colouratura tour-de force and sung with effortless ease, and a lot of care is taken in the Barcarolle for Guilietta and Nickelausse to blend together. For me the three supporting standouts were Robert Lloyd who is superb as Lindorf, Nicola Ghiuselev as Miracle and Gerraint Evans as Coppelius. In fact the only weak link is Antonia, she wasn't terrible far from it, but as has been said before and rightfully so the role is so downbeat and the performance of Ileana Cotrubas was just lacking that extra edge to make Antonia even more poignant.
The story is a timeless one. The prologue is entertaining, while all three stories are beautifully combined and full of memorable characters. The direction is excellent throughout, and the orchestra and conducting are spot-on. Visual wise, this production is a treat with elaborate, colourful sets and exquisite costumes. In conclusion, it is a treat to watch and has wonderful characters and beautiful music. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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