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The Tales of Hoffmann


The Tales of Hoffmann

Composer: Jacques Offenbach

opéra fantastique in 5 acts (3 acts with prologue and epilogue)
libretto - Jules Barbier and Michael Carré based on stories of E.T.A. Hoffmann

world premiere – Paryż, Opera-Comique, 10.02.1881
Polish premiere – Lwów, 1884
premiere at Krakow Opera House - 9.06.2017

sung in the original French, with Polish surtitles

Production team:

Director and costume designer: Michał Znaniecki
Music director: Tomasz Tokarczyk
Set designer: Luigi Scoglio 
Choreographer: Diana Theocharidis
Choir master: Jacek Mentel
Lighting designer: Bogumił Palewicz

Assistant music director: Paweł Szczepański
Directir’s assistants:  Zofia Dowjat, Dagmar Bilińska-Korban
Costume designer’s assistant: Joanna Medyńska 
Choreographer’s assistant: Adam Mośko
Choir master’s assistant: Joanna Wójtowicz
Sage managers: Magdalena Wąsowska, Justyna Jarocka-Lejzak
Prompters: Dorota Sawka, Maria Mitkowska

Soloists’ coaches: Kristina Kutnik, Olga Tsymbaluk, Grzegorz Brajner, Katarzyna Starzycka
Chorus accompanist: Wioletta Fluda
Ballet accompanist: Emilia Strzecha
Surtitles translated by Dorota Sawka



No dates available

One of the most intriguing operatic pieces that allures with mystery and offers endless interpretations. The dream of producers and performers. But also a challenge. Authors of the staging reach to the fantastic stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822), which inspired Offenbach’s opera. By introducing us to the modern worlds of civilisation, real however looking ahead, they translate them into the contemporary language. Realism and fantasy, contemporaneity and a futuristic vision – this is the poetics of the staging. In terms of music, the performance presents a selected version of the opera which, after all, was not finished by the composer. Except for the best known "Barcarolle" and "Olympia’s Aria", we are going to hear plenty of other magnificent arias and terzettos, pastiche and parodies, which build up the musical world of the piece.


Some excerpts from reviews

In the Krakow Opera, Michał Znaniecki highlighted and modernised the sci-fi plot. (...) His vision here is coherent and convincing. Particularly interesting is that the producers used the version from Schott’s edition, extended, additionally, by significant elements. For example, it shows clearly that the Muse and Nicklausse is one and the same person. To resolve any doubts, in this performance, the singer even changes her clothes on the stage and in the final, once again she puts on a dress. This part is perfectly played by Monika Korybalska – one of the best performers in the show. (...) Equally evident is that Olympia, Antonia, Giulietta, and the prima donna Stella, who is given a couple of phrases in this version, are the same person. It was Katarzyna Oleś-Blacha – the most spectacular coloratura in the Krakow Opera – to undertake this breakneck task (...). And, of course, Hoffmann – Tomasz Kuk skilfully handles his role, which is really difficult to handle. In the finale, everyone meets again in a pompous apotheosis of art – usually also not performed. (...)

Dorota Szwarcman, “Co w duszy gra” blog, 10 June 2017

Michał Znaniecki – director and costume designer, set designer Luigi Scoglio, choreographer Diana Theocharidis, and Tomasz Tokarczyk, who prepared The Tales of Hoffmann musically and conducted the premiere performance, prepared together a performance that was colourful, coherent, and as fantastic as it was contemporary, consistent from the prologue until the epilogue. 

Anna Woźniakowska, “Polska Muza” website, 10 June 2017

(...) Everyone deserve a compliment for the jointly achieved collectivity of the performance. Michał Znaniecki’s directing vision for The Tales of Hoffmann has been carefully considered and consistently executed. (...) Also the Krakow Opera Choir, prepared by Jacek Mentel, did exceptionally well - they sounded clear and loud, just as did the Orchestra conducted by Tomasz Tokarczyk. (...) The Krakow staging of The Tales of Hoffmann will surely make the Lubicz venue attractive for the spectators. The accuracy of staging, the coherence and consistency of vision, and the undeniable beauty of Offenbach’s music are enough to visit the Krakow Opera. (...)

Anna Małachowska, nascenie.info website, 11 June 2017

The last staging of The Tales of Hoffmann (inaugurating the 21st Krakow Opera Summer Festival) was an indisputable artistic event of the passing opera season. Not only in Krakow. If anyone wants to find out what the contemporisation of a nearly 140 years old opera consists in, they have now a perfect opportunity. The director did not go as far as to introduce any ultramodern elements. He rather took advantage of the technical solutions from the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries and implemented them in the vision of the performance. (...) When you add the magnificent set design and costumes, you cannot write anything else but: Reader, go and watch! Or, as a matter of fact, don’t watch. Live it! As it is a feast for the eye and for the ear.

Paweł Dybicz, Przegląd”, 19 June 2017