Tag Archives: The Tales of Hoffmann

The Tales of Hoffmann and the Thrill of Discovery

Brian Kellow wasn’t always an opera lover. One fateful performance of The Tales of Hoffmann changed his mind. He shares his story below.

A favorite topic among opera lovers is the Great Conversion Moment—the performance at which the key mysteriously turned, and opera became something more than an outpouring of beautiful melody and instead became something we began to understand on a gut level, something we began to crave.

The Tales of Hoffmann (2012); Photo: Robert Millard

The Tales of Hoffmann (2012); Photo: Robert Millard

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Hear Why LA Opera Oracle Mark Lyons Loves The Tales of Hoffmann

Mark Lyons - LA Opera's Oracle

Every company has an oracle. He/she is the person who has been at the company a while, knows just about everything and is willing to share it with you. They know a lot yet don’t make you feel bad that you might not; and, they have a way of educating while entertaining and guiding you to be as passionate about something as they are.

At LA Opera – that’s Mark Lyons. Mark is the Associate Director of Communications and Publications. Mark has been with LA Opera since 2003 and when we say he knows just about everything there is to know about opera, it’s because he’s been in it and around it his entire adult life.

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Director Marta Domingo Discusses the Real Hoffmann

E.T.A. Hoffmann

E.T.A. Hoffmann

E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822), who in homage to Mozart changed his third name to that of Amadeus, was a writer, music critic, painter, graphic artist and lawyer—a man of many talents who lacked the most important gift of all: how to find happiness.

When Hoffmann was two years old, his father abandoned his mother, who returned to live with her parents. He was surrounded by a depressed mother who was always sick, an unmarried aunt and a retired uncle—this was hardly an ideal environment for a happy childhood. A restless boy, he grew up rebellious and nonconformist. To escape this oppressive reality, Hoffmann developed an enormous fantasy life, from which he fashioned his own surreal world. He became an extraordinary exponent of supernatural, bizarre and almost diabolical tales.

Though very successful as a writer, he never overcame the frustration of not being the musician he had dreamed of becoming. Nor was he ever successful in finding the stability he searched so much for in his private life. A very unstable man, he always fell in love with the wrong woman at the wrong time, knocking on the forbidden doors of madness, alcohol or artificial paradises.

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Take a trip into the fanciful worlds of our bachelor, Hoffmann


If E.T.A. Hoffmann were alive today, he’d be on The Bachelor. He’d be meeting the wrong women, falling for them, and ultimately having his heart broken. EVERY TIME.

While it sounds like he’s a brooding artist with a dark soul – he’s really just a drunk guy at a tavern tripping out on his lost loves.

Over the course of his short life, Hoffmann falls for three women…and each failed love story he shares transports you to a world of whimsy, deception or magic spells.

(Check out The Tales of Hoffmann movie below to get a taste of the magic the opera inspires.)

Rather than three sheets to the wind – Hoffmann tells three tales.

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Give the Gift of Opera This Holiday Season

The Tales of Hoffmann (2002); Photo: Robert Millard

The Tales of Hoffmann (2002); Photo: Robert Millard

Thousands of people just like you come to LA Opera each year to experience the magnificence that can only be found in opera. Through world-class staging and bold experimentation, opera has something for everyone, regardless of age, musical preferences or means. Here are some of the opera experiences you can give as gifts to your friends and family this holiday season.

Hop on Mozart’s Orient Express with The Abduction from the Seraglio

If you’re a fan of screwball comedies, this is the opera for you. Updated to the Roaring Twenties, this riotous staging marries the brilliance of Mozart’s comic gem with the flair of a classic Hollywood comedy. En route from Istanbul to Paris, two beautiful damsels in distress are held captive aboard the luxurious Orient Express by a notorious Ottoman royal. It’s up to their faithful lovers to rescue them before it’s too late!

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#WordWednesday: Cadenza

CADENZA (19 Scrabble points) – Italian – A cadenza is an elaborate section (sometimes improvised) towards the end of an aria that allows the singer to really showcase what their voice can do, like the below “Flute Cadenza” in Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.

Interestingly enough, Donizetti never wrote such a section into his original score for Lucia. The section was added to showcase Nellie Melba’s coloratura singing during an 1889 performance at The Paris Opera. Other famous singers (Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, and Beverly Sills) added their own flavor when playing Lucia. Check out Diana Damrau (who will play all four heroines in our 16/17 production of Tales of Hoffmann) tackling Lucia’s entire mad scene below, including the famous cadenza.


Can’t get enough Diana Damrau? Get to know Diana Damrau in the articles that follow and get in the Damrau spirit.

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What Kind of Opera Valentine Are You?

Rolando Villazón and Anna Netrebko as the tile characters in Romeo et Juliette (2006); Photo: Robert Millard

Rolando Villazón and Anna Netrebko as the title characters in Romeo et Juliette (2006); Photo: Robert Millard

Opera is all about love. Passionate Love. Unrequited Love. Betrayed Love. Desperate Love. You-name-it love. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to find out what kind of opera valentine you are.

The Storybook Romantic

You’re the kind of person, who appreciates storybook romance, even if it ends in tragedy. For you, it’s all Puccini, Verdi, and Mozart all the time. You can get down with the unrequited romance just as much as you can love the fantastical loves that conquer all.


Best Opera Next Up at LAO: Madame Butterfly

Other Operas to Check Out: The Magic Flute, La Boheme, Tosca

The Cinema Siren

You live and breathe film and love it when opera productions are inspired by your favorite movies or film eras (or when films use or are inspired by opera). Operatic love is like a good Classic Hollywood film; whether it ends happily or tragically, the love is always spectacular.

The Magic Flute (2014); Photo: Robert Millard

The Magic Flute (2014); Photo: Robert Millard

Best Opera Next Up at LAO: The Magic Flute

Other Operas to Check Out: La Boheme, Macbeth , Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror

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Get To Know the 2016/17 Season!

LA Opera's 2016/17 Season

LA Opera’s 2016/17 Season

We’ve finally announced the 2016/2017 season and it’s going to be a big one. There are six mainstage operas, a semi-staged concert, and stellar off-grand productions to enjoy starting September 17.


Can’t wait for the excitement to begin? Take a look below and get to know all the 16/17 season has in store for Los Angeles.

Plácido Domingo and James Conlon unite to open season with Verdi’s Macbeth
The season opens with a new production of Verdi’s Macbeth (September 17 through October 16, 2016), starring Plácido Domingo in the title role and conducted by James Conlon. Ekaterina Semenchuk will perform the role of the treacherous Lady Macbeth. LA Opera’s first production of Macbeth since 1987 will be staged by Darko Tresnjak, director of the 2015 hit The Ghosts of Versailles.

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