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©Bettina Stöss / Opera Les Contes d'Hoffmann / Offenbach

Offenbach Les Contes d’Hoffmann

The 25 December 2022
Deutsche Oper - Berlin
Program

Offenbach : Les Contes d’Hoffmann

Cast
  • Conductor
    Dominic Limburg
  • Director
    Laurent Pelly
  • Performers
    Hoffmann: Robert Watson
    Lindorf/Coppélius/ Dr. Miracle/Dapertutto: Alex Esposito
    Stella/Olympia/Antonia/Giuletta: Kathryn Lewek
    La Muse/Nicklausse: Stephanie Lauricella
    Andrès, Cochenille, Frantz, Pitichinaccio: Andrew Dickinson
  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Deutsche Oper - Berlin Location Bismarckstrasse 35 - 10627 Berlin Allemagne

  • Venue's Capacity: 1859

Contrary to the Staatsoper Unter den Linden which was founded in the eighteenth century in the centre of town and for a long time considered the Royal Opera, the history of the Berlin Opera began in 1912, in the Charlottenburg neighborhood situated outside the city limits, and intitiated by the rich bourgeoisie. But the inevitable occured, following the economic crisis of World War I, and the Charlottenburg Opera was ultimately purchased by the City of Berlin.

Bruno Walter greatly improved the musical qualities of this institution which was rebaptized the Städtische Oper (City Opera). Prior to that, Carl Ebert, as administrator (with Rudolf Bing, the future legendary director of the MET in New York, as assistant), promoted more modern music, including those operas by Kurt Weill or Schreker which Klemperer could no longer perform at the then-closed Kr oll-Oper, and which provoked the ire of the Nazis as early as 1933. In 1945, the building was left in ruins, but by the month of August 45, the company presented FIDELIO at the « Theater des Westerns » and animated that theatre until 1961. During this period, the conductor Ferenc Fricsay, named music director, enabled the Städtische Oper to regain its international ranking, alternating standard repertoire in top-quality productions (where voices such as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau or Josef Greindl were discovered), works by Stravinsky and Hindemith (who were banned by the Nazis), and world premieres. But in 1955, the Opera Unter den Linden, situated in East Germany, reopened under the name of the Deutsche Staatsoper. Under the influence of this politico-artistic competition, three decisions were made : the Städtische Oper was rebaptized the Deutsche Oper Berlin, plans were made to construct a theatre at the Charlottenburg site (situated in West Berlin), and Carl Ebert who, in the mean­time founded the Glyndebourne Festival, was called back. His productions and season programmes turned West Berlin into one of contemporary opera's main capitals.

Deutsche Oper

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.

Synopsis

Les Contes d’Hoffmann

LES CONTES D'HOFFMAN, THE LEGENDARY GERMAN OPERA OF COMEDY AND TRAGEDY

The Opernhaus Zurich's version of the legendary German opera, translated into English as The Tales of Hoffmann brings one of the best loved works of the nineteenth century to the European stage.

This beloved opera by Jacques Offenbach is based on five short stories by the German romantic author E.T.A. Hoffmann. Premiering in 1881, Les contes d'Hoffmann has been a fixture of the opera circuit because of the interesting nature of the stories that make up the prologue, three acts and epilogue.

HISTORY

Les contes d'Hoffmann is set in the nineteenth century and focuses on the life of E.T.A. Hoffmann himself as the main character in the opera. Asked by his competitor, Lindorf to tell those gathered in a tavern about his three great loves, Hoffmann does so through portions of the stories he published during the nineteenth century romantic period of German literature.

Act 1

After being challenged to reveal his great loves by Lindorf in the epilogue, Hoffmann tells the story of Der Sandmann. With one of the most famous songs in the opera, The Doll Song, this popular act tells the story of Hoffmann falling in love with a mechanical robot known as Olympia. Not knowing she is a robot, Hoffmann falls in love and is then ridiculed when the inventor of the doll tears her apart over his unpaid fees.

Act 2

Known as Antonia, the second act of the opera details the doomed love Hoffmann has for Antonia, who has been hidden from Hoffmann by her father, Crespel. Based on the story Rath Krespel, the father of Antonia briefly explains that his daughter will die is she sings again because of an unnamed illness. To protect her from Hoffmann, who encourages Antonia in her singing career he has hidden his daughter from the author. With Hoffmann trying to free his lover from the house the mysterious Dr. Miracle sets out to destroy Antonia by encouraging her to sing, instead of curing her of her illness.

Act 3

A more mysterious tale than the others in the opera, the third act tells the story of Hoffmann's time in Venice. Here, Hoffmann falls in love with Giuilietta, a courtesan who has promised to steal the reflection of Hoffmann, as she has stolen the shadows and reflections of other men before him. Spurred on by Captain Daperutto, Giuilietta steals Hoffmann's reflection before tragedy strikes to end Hoffmann's last tale of love.

MAIN ROLES

E.T.A. Hoffmann, the poet and author, tenor
Olympia, the doll, soprano
Antonia, young girl and Hoffmann's lover, soprano
Giuilietta, courtesan, soprano
Stella, singer, soprano
Lindorf, Coppelius, Dr. Miracle, Dapertutto, the embodiments of evil, bass-baritone

Deutsche Oper Berlin im Saal © Günter Karl Bose

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