I love Les Contes d'Hoffmann(aka Tales of Hoffmann) for not just the magnificent music but also the intriguing story and characters. The 1981 Covent Garden production is still my favourite production of the opera, but this is still wonderful. The costumes and sets are spectacular and are captured by the excellent video directing, while the orchestra and conducting are all top-notch. The performances are also impressive, Neil Shicoff is a well-sung, more-than-competently acted Hoffmann, Susanne Mentzer is a fine Nicklausse and Giulietta, Antonia and particularly Olympia are sung beguilingly, but in all four bass-baritone villainous roles it is Bryn Terfel who takes the most plaudits in my opinion. Overall, a wonderful production. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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