Les Contes d’Hoffmann is an ‘opéra fantastique’, in which the Romantic poet Hoffmann remembers the important women in his life in a drunken stupor. Reality and fantasy overlap in this masterpiece.
Les Contes d’Hoffmann has been on Dutch National Opera’s wish list for a long time. The title role requires an exceptional tenor, who we have found in the person of John Osborn. This opera provides a rare opportunity to present several leading ladies in one production. One very popular part of Les Contes d’Hoffmann is ‘Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour’, the sensual duet sung by the ladies Nicklausse and Giulietta in a Venetian gondola. Many years after Offenbach’s death, new sections of the score were discovered, which provides the opportunity to make choices.
With regard to genre, Les Contes d’Hoffmann is an ‘opéra comique’, i.e. it contains spoken dialogue alongside mainly sung texts. Dutch National Opera is making its own version, based on the available material.