The Matthew Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts of the 2011/12 Lyric Opera of Chicago season begin on Classical 90.5 this Saturday, May 12, at noon with a performance of The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach, with a libretto in French by Jules Barbier, based on short stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann, who is the main protagonist in the opera (as he is in the stories). The performance will run approximately three hours and forty-five minutes.
If ever a man was unlucky at love, it’s Hoffmann, the wild-eyed poet who travels the world in search of the ideal woman and ends up thwarted by villains at every turn. First, he’s smitten by Olympia — but discovers she’s nothing more than a mechanical doll. Then, he falls for Antonia, a fragile songstress who’ll die if she sings — and regrettably for him, she does both! Finally he’s seduced by Giulietta — but the treacherous courtesan casts him aside.
In The Tales of Hoffmann Offenbach's beautiful music (including the famous Barcarolle) is combined with flamboyant theatricality. In this production, Matthew Polenzani shows that he is the successor to Domingo and Kraus as Hoffmann. The great James Morris portrays all four Hoffmann villains, as he’s done so previously to great acclaim at the Met. Anna Christy, Alyson Cambridge, and Erin Wall - as the objects of Hoffmann’s desire - fit the vocal and visual bill perfectly. Emmanuel Villaume conducts.