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Thread: Offenbach Opera on CD - Les Contes d'Hoffmann

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Default Offenbach Opera on CD - Les Contes d'Hoffmann

    Of all the operas which have survived and been performed despite never having been completed, Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman has arguably existed in the most indeterminate state with multiple performing editions including Choudens, Oeser & Kaye, some very different from others. There now seems to be a coalescing of opinion around the Kaye-Keck version as being the closest to Offenbach's intent but a good case can be made that the best performed and sung recordings are also the least 'authentic' - whatever authentic may mean given that Offenbach was a thoroughly pragmatic man of the 19th century theater.

    So, my question, how do you feel about the various editions, versions, arguments etc.? What would you most like to see in a performance? It is perfectly acceptable to be non-HIP

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    THANK YOU for starting this thread.
    I LOVE this opera and will be anxiously following here.

    I have the Cluytens and Bonynge recordings and like them both.

    I need to have that Diamond aria. Not sure if I care how the acts are ordered.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Why would anyone have anything else then this one?

    The later, so called restored version are boring and non of the recordings( a.k.a Philips and Erato) is really good.
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post

    Why would anyone have anything else then this one?

    The later, so called restored version are boring and non of the recordings( a.k.a Philips and Erato) is really good.
    True, the singing is great, but I love the spirit and atmosphere and the conducting even more on the Cluytens.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    I have the Cluytens and Sills recordings and a VHS of the 1951 Powell/Pressburger movie conducted by Beecham. While I have listened to the Sutherland/Bonynge, I was never convinced. I have occasionally thought about the Sylvain Cambreling recording but it uses a variant on the Oeser edition which, if anything, is even less accurate than the Choudens.

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    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    Different editions of Les Contes d'Hoffman are outside my ken, but I will say that I love Sutherland and Domingo in their famous performance- and of course Sutherland's "Doll Song" is sans pareil in its quicksilver fluidity.

    - And I just A-DORE that little Disneyland-type chorus at the beginning of the opera!

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    Not sure if I care how the acts are ordered.
    With the older versions that have a shortened Giuletta act, I tend to prefer the Olympia / Antonia / Giuletta with the latter leading into the Epilogue. When I transferred my Cluytens from LP to CD, I flipped the acts to that order.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    D'Angelo is a bit weak, but that's ok for a running down doll.
    The rest rock. Gedda's the best ever imo.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    This ones good too.

    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    The rest rock. Gedda's the best ever imo.
    Maybe it's familiarity but for me, Schwarzkopf IS Giuletta, she just sounds perfect for the character.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    Maybe it's familiarity but for me, Schwarzkopf IS Giuletta, she just sounds perfect for the character.
    YUP
    And how about Vicky?
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    This ones good too.


    I "second" that
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    For me, the scholarly version is the way to go on this one...

    51uYe1+zwGL.jpg
    "if a horse could sing in a monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme 'yacht', 'apricot', and 'gavotte'. Is that some kind of joke?"
    --Robert Christgau
    "there's a fine line between having an open mind and having your whole brain fall out"
    --Anonymous

    アルバート セブン

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert7 View Post
    For me, the scholarly version is the way to go on this one...

    51uYe1+zwGL.jpg
    Dullsville .....................
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    Dullsville .....................
    It starts and sounds if it's never going to end.....ever
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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