Opera on Screen: The Tales Of Hoffman from the Opera De Paris

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Opera on Screen: The Tales Of Hoffman from the Opera De Paris


Sunday Jun 29 01:00 PM
Tuesday Jul 01 01:00 PM


Doris Duke Theatre


Museum members: $18.00
General Admission: $20.00


About the Film:

Jacques Offenbach | Prologue: Opéra Fantastique | Three Acts & an Epilogue | French | 220 mins. | Captured live: September 2012

Offenbach’s haunting tale of one man’s desire for a parade of unattainable beauties is presented in this captivating production from the Opera de Paris. In his famous study on Offenbach, Siegfried Kracauer summarized and established the legend of The Tales of Hoffmann writing that the tales were far more than the spiritual testament of the composer—they were a true self-portrait of the man and the artist. Offenbach recognized himself in his hero and, just as the latter never managed to capture any of his lovers, the king of operetta was never able to write the great opera of which he dreamt. Kracauer even evokes a pact with death: “Let me complete my work in peace and I will follow you.” In the event, death did not respect the pact and it came too soon: The Tales of Hoffmann remained unfinished, a “Hoffmannesque” work in itself, both enigmatic and elusive. Appealing as it may be, the legend is incomplete. The last day of his life—October 5, 1880—Offenbach was not involved in some grave showdown with death, but darting back and forth across Paris and working as he had done every day for decades. Nevertheless, The Tales of Hoffmann exude a unique perfume, at once bizarre and visionary, sensual and morbid. The gentle yet vigilant muse, the haunted rapture of Hoffmann, the icy coloratura of Olympia, the deathly song of Antonia and the Baudelairian voluptuousness of Giulietta all make The Tales of Hoffmann the absolute masterpiece of its composer—just as he had wished. 

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