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'Les Contes d'Hoffmann' at Opéra Bastille, Paris


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'Les Contes d'Hoffmann' at Opéra Bastille, Paris

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Paris’ Opéra Bastille is showing Offenbach’s masterpiece, “Les contes d’Hoffmann”, a fantastic tale where the surreal mixes with the tragic. Robert Carsen’s staging renders the multi-layered structure of the opera effectively, to the enjoyment both of the audience and the singers.

“Hoffmann is a difficult role because this is a crazy story,” tenor Ramon Vargas told Euronews. “What the stage director did is great! He sets the story inside a play, and everything is turned into a play; only Hoffmann doesn’t realize that everything has been turned into a play. He thinks that’s life for real, and so he mixes up imagination and reality.”

“Antonia suits me well, also as a character, with all her passion… she’s an artist, but she has a mysterious illness that she inherited from her mother: if she doesn’t stop singing she’ll die,” explained soprano Ermonela Jaho. “But she’s prepared to give up everything… to sing! This character goes so well with my personality… it’s like a tailor-made dress.”

This opera alternates drama and apparently lighter moments

“My mother never saw me sing live,” Ermonela told Euronews. “And when the trio starts I forget I’m just Antonia the character, I forget I’m a singer and I’m a little girl again… music has this strong power: it can touch that very fragility in your heart.”

“I think that today I understand my character better; I sympathize with this desperate man, this man who’s so eager to live and meet the real love, and who, in the end, chooses to follow his talent, to follow poetry and art rather than love,” said Ramon.

“Les Contes d’Hoffmann” will be performed at Opéra Bastille, Paris on November 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27

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