Tales of Hoffman | Lyric Opera House | Classical | Chicago Reader

Tales of Hoffman Soundboard Recommended

When: Sat., Oct. 1, 6:30 p.m. and Wed., Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m. 2011

Jakob Offenbach, born in what's now Germany in 1819, was sent to France at age 14 to study; there he became Jacques Offenbach, celebrated composer of quintessentially French operettas. In his late 50s, Offenbach began what he hoped would be his masterpiece—a real opera, based on the life of composer and writer E.T.A. Hoffmann—but he died before he could complete it. Lyric Opera's production of this extravaganza, like every other production, is the result of guesswork as to what Offenbach would have done. In search of the ideal woman, Hoffmann (tenor Matthew Polenzani) relives three affairs with women, all sopranos, who fell short: a mechanical doll (Anna Christy), a cursed vocalist (Erin Wall), and a courtesan (Alyson Cambridge). The plot includes four versions of Hoffmann's nemesis (all sung by bass-­baritone James Morris) and a trouser role for his muse, companion, and true love, Nicklausse (mezzo-soprano Emily Fons). Emmanuel Villaume conducts; sets by Ezio Frigerio. This production runs through October 29. —Deanna Isaacs

Price: $79-$400

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