[Met Performance] CID:298790

Les Contes d'Hoffmann
Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, December 14, 1989

Les Contes d'Hoffmann (204)
Jacques Offenbach | Jules Barbier
Alfredo Kraus

Erie Mills

Tatiana Troyanos

Catherine Malfitano

Pauline Andrey

Lindorf/Coppélius/Dappertutto/Dr. Miracle
José Van Dam

Brenda Boozer

Anthony Laciura

Spiro Malas

Philip Creech

John Darrenkamp

Donald Kaasch

Morley Meredith

John Macurdy

Mother's Voice
Gweneth Bean

Sylvain Cambreling

Review 1:

Allan Kozinn in The New York Times
A New “Hoffmann” Cast

An almost entirely new cast has taken over from the original singers in Offenbach's "Contes d'Hoffmann" at the Metropolitan Opera. Of the principals, only Jose van Dam remains, and his palpably evil portrayals of Lindorf, Coppélius, Dappertutto and Dr. Miracle — the four villainous manifestations of Hoffmann's psyche — remain among the unquestionable joys of this year's staging.

But on Saturday evening, Mr. van Dam was in good company. Alfredo Kraus sang the title role, and apart from the purely vocal pleasures his elegantly sung performance afforded, one had to marvel at the ease and naturalness with which the 62-yearold tenor played the part of the young love-starved poet.

Erie Mills, in her first Met appearance as Olympia, the windup doll that is the first object of Hoffmann's affections, gave a splendid impression of a not-quite-perfected mechanical creature. She was also in exceptionally fine voice, and delivered Olympia's stratospheric coloratura aria, "Les oiseaux dans la charmille," with a graceful kind of exhibitionism that was fully in keeping with the character.

The singers who played Hoffmann's other two loves have sung their roles in the house in the past. Tatiana Troyanos was not at her most alluring as Giulietta; her voice had a coarse sound, and although she warmed to the role toward the end of the Venice act, she began with uncharacteristic stiffness. There were some uneven moments in Catherine Malfitano's Antonia, but her portrayal of the frail, sickly soprano had a touching quality, and she brought an appealing power and flexibility to her final aria, "Chère enfant que j'appelle." And Sondra Kelly sang with haunting beauty in her brief appearance as Antonia's mother.

Brenda Boozer was pleasing and lively in the mezzo-soprano role of Niklausse, Hoffmann's sidekick and, in the Epilogue, the harshly amplified Muse of Poetry. Donald Kaasch, who sang Spalanzani when the production opened, has moved to the quadruple role of Andrès, Cochenille, Pitichinaccio and Frantz. He and the new Spalanzani, Andrea Velis, contributed some fine, well-paced comic acting to the production, and in his third-act set piece, Mr. Kaasch used his tenor attractively.

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