Parlando: The COC Blog


No Definitive Version: The Compositional History of The Tales of Hoffmann

Why are there so many versions of The Tales of Hoffmann, and which version is closest to what Offenbach intended? These questions have no easy answers, and Gianmarco Segato (joined this time by Nikita Gourski) explains why in our latest COC podcast.

The long road to the stage taken by The Tales of Hoffmann was complicated by all manner of circumstance: the early death of the composer which left the piece incomplete; two theatre fires; multiple bankruptcies; the ongoing discovery to this day of hitherto “lost” musical materials...and the list goes on! Listen as they unravel Hoffmann’s fascinating history, sampling music from two classic Decca recordings: one with the legendary Joan Sutherland and the young Plácido Domingo and the other, a version which incorporates some of the more recently-discovered musical numbers, with Francisco Araiza in the title role; Cheryl Studer as Giulietta and Anne Sofie von Otter as Niklausse. Both CDs are available this spring at the Opera Shop.

Play the video above to listen to the interview, or download the mp3s (Part One, Part Two) and listen on your device of choice.

Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2011/2012 / comments (0) / permalink


Stories From a Super: Nicole Stawikowski

Before rehearsals started for The Tales of Hoffmann, we sent out a call for young, enthusiastic supernumeraries (non-singing "supers," or extras) to be part of the action on stage. One of the people eventually chosen to join the Hoffmann team was Nicole Stawikowski, and I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her experience.

CC: Describe your role in this production.

NS: I am a part of a small group of supers consisting of both men and women. We don’t sing, but we do everything else from moving sets on stage to interacting with the chorus and principals throughout the opera. The supers’ part in this opera is more involved than usual, or so I am told by veteran supers. We are in every act with the exception of one, so we got to do A LOT! My roles throughout the opera include a 19th-century floozy, an overly enthusiastic student, and a sleep-deprived and slightly drugged lady of the night. And I do it all in a heavy lace dress with a long train that many people stomp on, including me. During rehearsals, the female supers wear rehearsal skirts so that we can get accustomed to an awkward bunch of material around our ankles while maneuvering large set pieces and attempting to walk elegantly while carrying heavy chairs. Phew! I have personally ripped my skirt as well as the skirts of two other supers. My sincerest apologies to whomever has to fix those sizeable rips.

CC: How did you become interested in opera? What made you want to be a super in this production?

NS: Two and a half years ago, a high school drama teacher told me in my final year that if an audition ever depended on my singing voice, I would never get the job. That is when I decided that I wanted to be an opera singer. It required impeccable technique, which I was absolutely determined to master, and sounded so damn beautiful! I haven’t looked back since and I am beyond thankful for it. Now I get to be a super in The Tales of Hoffmann and get acquainted with the people behind the exquisite voices. And they are all made of awesome! I found the COC’s call for supers via Twitter. As soon as I saw the tweet, I e-mailed my information to the address and received a reply just over an hour later. So here I am. I’m in my element! Perhaps one day I may be lucky enough to sing on this stage. Cross your fingers for me, will ya?


Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2011/2012 / comments (1) / permalink


The Tales of Hoffmann Opens Tonight!

Tonight is opening night for Offenbach's  The Tales of Hoffmann, and we've collected lots of videos and music excerpts to whet your appetite! Hit the play button below for a montage of scenes from our production, music excerpts, and an fascinating look at the opera's compositional history. 

Would you prefer some reading material? Let me suggest:

Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2011/2012 / comments (0) / permalink

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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001



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