Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hoffmann in love

And the opera most about love of all is The Tales of Hoffmann where the subject is love itself, its absurd base in illusion and fantasy, its excess and inevitability, its humiliations and exaltations. Love.

If I could pick any singer to be like, to have her voice and theatrical personality, I think it would be Agnes Baltsa. It would be wonderful to project this much animal magnetism. In this Hoffmann she sings the Venetian courtesan Giuletta who steals Hoffmann's reflection.

Musically it's Antonia's aria, sung by Iliana Cotrubas, I fall for. Hoffmann is the perfect opera and this production from Covent Garden perfectly expresses the feeling of each scene: the devotion to science, the brother, the humble house, the bar. It's only just a bit drab. The brothel scene includes a very nice orgy.

Placido Domingo's Hoffmann is perfectly clueless. To see someone love so foolishly and with such incautious abandon is very comforting.

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