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Perennial favorite

CHAD NEUMAN at Orlando Opera's
'The Tales of Hoffmann'


Hearing that The Tales of Hoffmann was a favorite of many music lovers, I attended the 16 November 2001 performance of the 'perennial favorite' at the Orlando Opera. Based on the life of the poet Hoffmann, this opera has various versions due to differing reasons: the uncompleted original; subsequent findings of music for the opera; and integrated related parts, according to Stephen Brown of the Orlando Sentinel (Brown, Stephen. 'Tales of Hoffmann strikes many chords', Orlando Sentinel, 11 November 2001). The selection of the version for the Orlando performance seemed fine to me, as the combination of engaged singing, humorous side notes, passionate story line and creative stage design all added up to a well done performance.

The singing performances seemed to stand out as the most prominent trait of the company's rendition. The tenor Stephen Mark Brown boomed the story line along as Hoffmann, as Soprano Brenda Harris, playing Hoffmann's four loves, made Olympia, the mechanical doll, humorous and projecting. Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley, playing the Hoffmann's nemesis Dapertutto, characterized the essence of his low voice with sinister quality. The opera opened up with mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Batton as the Muse, explaining how she will disguise herself as Hoffmann's friend, Nicklausse. It also ended with Batton's character explaning the importance of art as opposed to the usual ending of Hoffmann falling drunk to the floor.

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Copyright © 13 December 2001 Chad Neuman, Lakeland, FL, USA





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