Grim, dark Hoffmann

One of the interesting things about Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann is that there is no definitive edition so creative teams have a lot of flexibility in how they cut and combine material.  Director Tobias Kratzer and conductor Carlo Rizzi created a really interesting take for their production at Dutch National Opera in 2018.  It’s a very modern, very dark interpretation that while it keeps Offenbach’s music (though not interpolations like Scintille diamante) and the words are all from (some version of) the libretto the storyline varies a lot from what we are used to while keeping intact the central psychological fact that Hoffmann is incapable of relating to real women.

1.party

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Double dwarf

The Deutsche Oper’s production of Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg, recorded in 2019 in Berlin, is directed by Tobias Kratzer who seems to be the rising star among young German opera directors.  I can see why.  This is a thoughtful and clever production that really does have something to say without being unduly gimmicky.

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