Les contes d’Hoffmann (Tales of Hoffmann) (1881)

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Offenbach’s last opera is a magical story of thwarted love, art and revenge!
In French, with projected English translation, accompanied by piano.

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In Jacques Offenbach’s fantasy opera The Tales of Hoffmann, a poet dreams of three women—a mechanical performing doll, a bejeweled siren, and the consumptive daughter of a famous singer—all of whom break his heart in different ways. 

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Creative Team

conductor: Nicholas Gilmore
stage directors: Andrew Pelrine and Nina Scott-Stoddart
collaborative pianist: Giancarlo Scalia
stage manager: Kaitlyn Smith
lighting designer: Sean Burke
costume designer: Wafaa Latif
fight choreographer: Robert Seale
vocal and diction coach: Paula Rockwell
assistant vocal coach: Mary Castello
assistant conductor: Shelby Rae Marshall
assistant stage director: Monike Porter

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Performance Dates and Times

Performances at Sir James Dunn Theatre at the Dal Arts Centre, 6101 University Avenue, Halifax
(dates and times subject to change)
Saturday, August 3, 2:00 pm
Sunday, August 4, 7:30 pm
Wednesday, August 7, 7:30 pm
Saturday, August 10, 7:30 pm

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Tickets for Tales of Hoffmann will be $30 for general admission, $20 for student (aged 13 to university) and $5 for children under 13.  Tickets will be available in advance online from TicketHalifax.com, in person at The Coast offices, and by phone with credit card at (902)-422-6278 ex. 500 after May 15. Our box office opens outside the Sir James Dunn Theatre at the Dal Arts Centre from one hour before show time, and any remaining tickets are available to purchase then. At the door we accept cash, cheques and Visa/MasterCard. For more details about buying tickets, see our Ticket Information Page.

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Cast List

Specific cast lists for each show will be listed here by the end of the day on July 19, 2019.

LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN by OffenbachSaturday August 3, 2:00 pm
Wednesday August 7, 7:30 pm
Sunday August 4, 7:30 pm
Saturday August 10, 7:30 pm
Hoffmann, a poetKoosha Khorramian (Iran/NS)Koosha Khorramian (Iran/NS)
Lindorf, Coppélius, Miracle, DapertuttoMarKo Hubert (NS)MarKo Hubert (NS)
Nicklausse, his friendMairi Demings (NS)Lissy Meyerowitz
Olympia, a dollMeggie MacKayLoren Graziano
Antonia, a young girl Olivia LaPointeKelsey Lee
Giulietta, a courtesanLeslie HigginsOlivia Spahn-Vieria
Nathanael, Frantz, Pitichinaccio, SpalanzaniEli Aronson (USA)Eli Aronson (USA)
Crespel, Antonia's fatherDuncan StenhouseDuncan Stenhouse
SchlémilSteven DeWitt (NS)Steven DeWitt (NS)
LutherJim Horne (NS)Steven DeWitt (NS)
CochenilleLoren GrazianoMeggie MacKay
HermannLissy MeyerowitzMairi Demings
AndresRhian Meritt (NS)Rhian Meritt (NS)
Stella/WaitressOliva Spahn-VieriaLeslie Higgins
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Luther’s Tavern, Nuremberg

Councillor Lindorf appears and bribes Andrès, Stella’s servant, to intercept a note the opera singer has written to Hoffmann, which contains the key to her dressing room. Students fill the tavern, along with the poet Hoffmann and his friend Nicklausse.  The students urge Hoffmann to drink and sing. He regales them with the ballad of the dwarf Kleinzach, but is distracted by memories of love. Lindorf and Hoffmann exchange insults, and Hoffmann is left with a sense of foreboding. When the students tease him about his infatuation with Stella, he tells the story of his three past loves.

Act I

Spalanzani’s house

The inventor Spalanzani is preparing for a party. He admires what appears to be a girl behind a curtain in his parlor, and hopes that she will help him recoup his investment losses. His only fear is that his rival Coppélius will try to extort money from him by claiming paternity. Hoffmann arrives, and Spalanzani sings the praises of his daughter Olympia. Spalanzani leaves, and Hoffmann finds Olympia, whom he has seen briefly before, and who appears to be asleep. He is already deeply in love with her. Nicklausse appears and teasingly sings him a song about a living doll. Coppélius arrives and sells Hoffmann a pair of magic eyeglasses that will allow Hoffmann to see into a person’s soul. Now Olympia appears even lovelier to him. Spalanzani and Coppélius argue over Olympia’s value. Spalanzani gives Coppélius a bad check. The other guests arrive, and Spalanzani introduces Olympia — a life-sized mechanical doll. She performs a brilliant aria. Although she has to be rewound several times, Hoffmann remains infatuated. When he touches her, she whirls out of the room. Nicklausse tries to tell him that she isn’t human, but Hoffmann won’t listen. Coppélius returns, enraged that Spalanzani’s check has bounced. A waltz begins, and Hoffmann and Olympia dance faster and faster until Hoffmann falls and breaks the magic glasses. Coppélius takes his revenge by smashing Olympia. Hoffmann, horrified, at last sees that she was only a doll. (Based on Hoffmann’s tale “Der Sandmann” (“The Sandman”).)

Act II

Crespel’s house, Munich

Crespel’s daughter Antonia sings a sad love song. Crespel begs her to give up singing, because it will make her ill; but Antonia is inspired by the memory of her late mother’s beautiful voice and cannot help but sing. Crespel blames Hoffmann for Antonia’s desire to sing; he had brought her to Munich to get her away from the poet. Crespel instructs his hard-of-hearing servant, Frantz, not to let anyone in the house while he is gone. Left alone, Frantz tries, and fails, to sing and dance. Hoffmann arrives with Nicklausse, who tries to persuade the poet to devote himself entirely to poetry. But Hoffmann ignores him and declares his love to Antonia. They sing a duet until Antonia nearly faints. Crespel arrives; Antonia flees the room and Hoffmann hides. Crespel is dismayed by the arrival of Dr. Miracle, who treated Crespel’s wife before she died and who Crespel believes will kill his child as well. Despite the girl’s absence, Dr. Miracle claims that her pulse is irregular. When he commands her to sing, her voice is heard. Dr. Miracle claims that he can save the girl, but Crespel throws him out. When Antonia returns, Hoffmann begs her not to sing. She reluctantly agrees, and he leaves, promising to return the next day. Dr. Miracle reappears, tempting Antonia with the prospect of becoming a famous singer. The girl calls upon her mother’s portrait to help her resist the temptation. Dr. Miracle magically brings the portrait to life; the portrait urges Antonia to sing with her. As Dr. Miracle wildly accompanies her on the violin, Antonia sings until she collapses. She dies in her grieving father’s arms. Hoffmann rushes in. Crespel threatens to kill him, but Nicklausse intercedes. When Hoffmann calls for a doctor, Dr. Miracle reappears and pronounces Antonia dead. Crespel and Hoffmann despairingly cry out to her. (Based on Hoffmann’s tale “Rat Krespel” (“Councillor Krespel”).)


Giulietta’s palazzo on the Grand Canal, Venice

Nicklausse and the courtesan Giulietta sing a romantic barcarolle. Hoffmann then sings a cynical ditty about carnal pleasures. Giulietta’s lover Schlémil watches Hoffmann jealously. Nicklausse warns Hoffmann not to fall in love with Giulietta. Hoffmann replies that if he should fall in love with her, the devil can take his soul. Dapertutto, overhearing them, bribes Giulietta with a diamond to steal Hoffmann’s reflection, just as she already has stolen Schlémil’s shadow. She seduces Hoffmann, who falls in love instantly and agrees to give her his reflection. Schlémil interrupts them, accusing Giulietta of infidelity. When Dapertutto remarks on how pale Hoffmann is, Hoffmann looks in a mirror and is horrified to find that he has no reflection. But he is trapped by his infatuation. He demands that Schlémil give him the key to Giulietta’s room. Schlémil refuses, and Hoffmann kills him in a duel with a sword provided by Dapertutto. Hoffmann then rushes off to find Giulietta, only to discover her sailing away in a gondola with Pittichinaccio. Nicklausse drags Hoffmann away. (Based on Hoffmann’s tale “Die Geschichte vom verlornen Spiegelbilde” (“The Lost Reflection”).)


Luther’s Tavern

Back at Luther’s Tavern, applause for Stella’s performance is heard in the distance, and Lindorf swears to make her his. Nicklausse realizes that the woman in each story represents a different aspect of Stella. He proposes a toast to Stella, which at first enrages Hoffmann; but the poet decides to just get drunk and forget. He falls into a drunken stupor just as Stella enters. Nicklausse tells Stella that Lindorf is waiting for her as the students continue their revels.

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