A masterpiece of 19th century French romantic opera will be performed for audiences in Seoul next week.
The Korea National Opera presents 'The Tales of Hoffmann,' an opera by the French-German composer Jacques Offenbach. The much-loved classic is Offenbach's only opera and this is the 200th anniversary of his birth.
Composed in a typical French romantic style, the Tales of Hoffmann brings together the spectacle of Grand Opera, elements of romance and fantasy and the satire and wit of the operetta. The protagonist Hoffmann tells three love stories in dreamlike or even surreal settings, where a kind of evil interrupts his love.
"From the first to the fifth act, Hoffmann's character goes on journey of love and rebirth as an artist. I tried to show every detail as he grows and develops as a person and the frustrations that crush him as an artist. I'm trying to make it easier for audiences to understand when I switch between who the character is in the present and who he was in the past."
This production is directed by Vincent Boussard from France and the orchestra is conducted by Sebastian Lang-Lessing from Germany.
Interestingly, opera directors and conductors get to make their own versions of this work with different visuals and even different endings.
"The Tales of Hoffmann has wide possibility for stage directing and music conducting because the composer died before completing the opera."
"This is a piece by a composer who actually wrote operatic comedy or operetta. And writing at the end of his life a serious very serious opera is very significant. He, I think for him it's like his own requiem and his own belief of what it means to be an artist."
Except the main character, all the other singers play multiple roles including Hoffmann's lovers. Four female characters in the story are all played by one singer. It's exciting for audiences because these roles require a wide vocal range, which is another reason opera singers say The Tales of Hoffmann is a challenge.
"The Tales of Hoffmann runs from October 24th to 27th at Seoul Arts Center, inviting audiences to appreciate the essence of French opera and enjoy its beautiful melodies.
Lee Min-sun Arirang News."