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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on July 19, 2004
This is probably the best Hoffman on Video. Domingo is at his peak here, the best Hoffman I've ever heard singing the best I've heard him sing the role. Particularily good are the Ballad of Klinzach and "Amis! L'amour tendre", which is acted excellently by Domingo and features some really great buisness from Anges Balsta, Domingo and the chorus.
The conducting of Pretre is speedy, and most of the time it works, but, in some places (like the Baracolle, sung beautifully) it seems the singes can hardly keep up.
The production values are nothing short of increadable. the late John Schliesinger shows himself to be a capable operatic director, with several nice touches to the production, such as Lindorf appearing at the end of each act, mocking Hoffman and laughing. I would have prefered to see the roles acted by one man, but the seperate apperances of Lindorf do just as well. The begining of the Venice act is very impressive, with the gondolas floating ominously and the writhing orgy taking place on the banks of the cannal. The designs of Maria Bjornson and Willum Dudley utilize the three-story stage excellently, and give each setting a different feel: The tavern a place of grity reality, Paris a zany Victorian invetors lab, Venice a C.B. DeMille nightmare, and Munic the feeling of a derilict, clostrophobic mansion from hell.
The singing, other than Domingo is almost uniformally good. Luciana Serra, as Olympia is fine acting-wise and her voice is pleasent enough, but I don't like her phrasing. Balsta's Guiletta is increadeble, a real stand out. She looks terrific, too. Ileana Cortubas' Antonia sings well enough, but could act the part better, but you warm up to her eventually.
As the Villians, Robert Llyod (asways reliable) is a memerable Lindorf, though he speaks rather than sings Stella's letter and takes his aria much to fast. Sir Geraint Evans is amazing as Coppelius, both zany and extreamly creepy. Seigmund Nimsgern is extreamly hypotic as Dappertutto, and gives the best vocal performance out of the four villians. Nicolai Ghiuselev's Miracle is the production's biggest letdown, as he is overpowered in his two trios easily and acts rather woodenly.
Claire Powell is an excellent and masculine Nicklausse, and makes a ravishing transformation into the muse, where her sdialouge is not as good. In smaller roles, Robert Tear is a memerable Spalanzani and Gwynne Howell is an excellent and touching Crespel. Bernard Dikerson is very funny as Frantz, giving the best acting performance (if not vocal) of "Jour et Nuite" I've heard yet. Paul Crook is execellent as Conchinelle, but not as Andres. Chorus and Orchestral work are both excellent.
This is a production I would highly recomend under any circumstances.
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on December 2, 2003
This is a total DVD disaster fom Kultur. I have tried two copies of this wonderful performance and both had a miserable soundtrack and opera is sound. Volume swells and fades throughout the performance destroying a terrific production. Would love to know what Placido Domingo thinks of it. Dr. Mirakle must have been the sound mixer.
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on July 9, 2010
One of my favorite operas done well but with variable and often poor sound on my DVD.Domingo is great(as usual)and the others nearly so. It's a pity this pressing did'nt come out with better sound-Kultur should hang their heads in shame.
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on June 9, 2003
This is a great, great performance. Domingo's Covent Garden Hoffmann is supreme, but this is no one-star show: there is a first-rate supporting cast as well (including the veteran bass-baritone Sir Geraint Evans as Coppelius -- I believe these were his last Covent Garden performances -- the always-outstanding Robert Lloyd as Lindorf, and the touching Ileana Cotrubas as Antonia). Every fan of HOFFMANN and/or Domingo should watch this video!
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on November 6, 2003
The content was good but the Video quality was very poor. I was watching on my Sanyo HD PLV-60 projector. It looks like the master tape was a VHS or 3/4" tape. The original show was taped in 1981 by the British. Those people are perfectionists. The only explanation for the poor quality must be 2nd and 3rd generation of tape or a bad transfer from PAL to NTSC TV.
You should not watch this DVD on a big screen.
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on November 9, 2003
I prefer my operas grand and colorful. This production was grand but in monochromatic colors. OK but I have seen so many better interpretations of this opera in color.
The music is wonderful. I loved all the principals. I am glad I bought this version. I have the one from Lyons France and it is awfull. I do not know of any other DVD of the Tales of Hoffmann.
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on December 22, 2014
It was delightful. I found the staging excellent, it followed the need to express the tale. The music, the voices are unquestionably superb, especially with the lead of the great, Placido Domingo.
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on January 28, 2013
The image is absolutely awful. I bought it because I like Placido Domingo. The production is good, the image is awful.
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