Crick Crack! Crick Crack! And That's Kleinzach!

Yes, that's right! Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann are at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House! The cast consists of Matthew Polenzani as Hoffmann, Angela Brower as The Muse and Nicklausse, Christian Van Horn as Lindorf, Coppelius, Dr. Miracle, and Dapertutto, Steven Cole as Andres, Cochenille, Franz and Pitichinaccio,  Hadleigh Adams as Luther and Schlemil, Matthew Grills as Nathanael, Joo Won Kang as Hermann, Thomas Glenn as Spalanzani, Hye Jung Lee as Olympia, Natalie Dessay as Antonia, James Creswell as Crespel,  Margaret Mezzacappa as Antonia's mother, Irene Roberts as Giulietta, and Jacqueline Piccolino as Stella. The music director is Nicola Luisotti; the conductor is Patrick Fournillier; the chorus director is Ian Robertson; and the general director is David Gockley.

Following is the review on the performance of The Tales of Hoffmann on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. San Fransisco War Memorial Opera House.

7:58 p.m. "I'm with you at the War Memorial Opera House of San Fransisco with The Tales of Hoffmann. Since I came a little bit late I won't be able to describe a lot of things. The lights dim and the performance begins with Gockley's voice asking everyone to turn off their cellphones..."

9:15 p.m. "Intermission of Act 1. People jump from their seats and a huge traffic jam appears in one of the aisles. This is such a comic opera! The libretto itself is extremely funny. The music, of course, is very unlike Offenbach's usual Belle Helen or Orpheus in the Underworld. This opera has an opera feel to it, not operetta. The costumes are also nice; not colorful, but nice. They're all so dark. Grey, brown, black...Olympia is like a light shining from the dark. 9:35 p.m. The orchestra begins tuning. Mr. Polenzani is doing a wonderful job at interpreting the character. So far, he's my favorite. I noticed one little blooper during the tale of Olympia when the chorus delayed for a few second, but Mr. Fournillier evened it all out immediately and everything was fine. The lights dim..."

10:30 p.m. "I have never understood what this singing disease was. Never. No, seriously, what the heck is it? Dr. Miracle seems to have the cure for it, so he knows about it...
"Mrs. Dessay is wonderful. I don't know what people mean when they say that she lost her voice. Maybe she sung better before, but I'm quite content with her current singing. Now I'm breaking apart between Mr. Polenzani and Mrs. Dessay. The man sitting behind me tells his companion,
          '...I don't think Dessay is in a great voice, either. I've heard her perform much better than this before...'
"Maybe he's right; he must have heard her before in a better voice than tonight. I dont know, for me, she's doing well. Mr. Polenzani is tired, and it's quite obvious judging from his voice. He still sounds fine, but one can sense the strain in the voice. Mr. Van Horn is doing much better here than in Puccini's Tosca. He sung Angelotti in last season's Tosca, and I didn't find him appealing. Now, he's doing great! The lights dim. It is 10:45 p.m."
I did not get a chance to write anything on the last act, so I will try to come up with something from memory. I remember that the end was not charismatic enough. I was also surprised to hear Stella singing; I always thought that she did not sing. This was probably another version.

Overall, I was entertained and was in a happy mood after the performance. It was not an ingenious performance, but it was not horrible either.


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