Opera The National Theatre

Les contes d'Hoffmann

Jacques Offenbach



Musical preparation: Michel Swierczewski
Conductor: Zbyněk Müller
Stage director: Ondřej Havelka
Sets: Martin Černý
Costumes: Jana Zbořilová
Lights: Daniel Tesař
Chorus master: Martin Buchta
Choreography: Jana Hanušová
Dramaturgy: Ondřej Hučín

Czech National Opera Orchestra

Czech National Opera Chorus

Czech National Opera Ballet

Premiere: March 6, 2010

Offenbach’s final work is bizarre in terms of both content and origination. The composer set to music Jules Barbier and Michel Carré’s older eponymous drama inspired by the short stories and life of the German fantasist, rebel, universal artist and one of the fathers of European Romanticism, E. T. A. Hoffmann. He is also the central character of all the phantasmagoric stories, in which he seeks, finds and subsequently loses the dreamt-of and very uncertain image of the ideal women. Offenbach did not manage to complete his opera, dying before it had its world premiere in 1881. Many people participated in revisions to Les contes d’Hoffmann, yet there is no definitive authorised version. However, the previous decades have brought surprising discoveries of original, previously unknown parts and sketches for this opera. As a result, plenty of scope for interpretation and invention has opened up for today’s opera-makers. Les contes d’Hoffmann has been explored by the renowned French conductor Michel Swierczewski in tandem with Ondřej Havelka, a director with a great dramatic bird’s-eye view and apprehension of the “mixed genre”, of which Offenbach’s ironical/lyrical opera is a prime example.

Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet of the National Theatre Opera.

Photo: Diana Zehetner

The opera is staged in French original version and Czech and English surtitles are used in the performance.

Duration of the performance: 3 hours and 15 minutes, 2 intermissions


This production is not performed at the present time.

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