Opera will bring wild fantasy and pure feeling to the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny

Life and art combined: Three macabre stories by Hoffmann

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

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sean.keane@kilkennypeople.ie

Opera will bring wild fantasy and pure feeling  to the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny

A portrait of Stella who stars in the Irish National Opera coming to the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny

Offenbach’s great opera, The Tales of Hoffmann is an extraordinary exploration of life and art, combining wild fantasy and pure feeling in equal measure.


It will be staged in the Watergate Theatre on Saturday, September 29 at 8pm.
It will recreate the tuneful, haunted, sometimes daemonic world of French composer Jacques Offenbach’s masterpiece.
Offenbach was 19th century France's greatest composer of operetta but he didn't live to put the finishing touches to his sole fully fledged opera, The Tales of Hoffmann.
The work is based on three macabre stories by the romantic German writer, E.T.A. Hoffmann.
Each deals with a failed love affair, the first an entanglement with a mechanical singing doll, the second involving a singer afflicted with a malady that means she will die if she dares to sing, the third an infatuation with a Venetian courtesan.
And of course there’s also Stella, the woman he is in love with at the moment.
The eloquent singer Julian Hubbard, praised by Bachtrack for his “lyrical, expressive tenor”, is the luckless, inebriated hero.

The spectacular Irish soprano Claudia Boyle, complimented by Neue Musikzeitung for her “stupendous coloratura sophistication and radiance,” deftly morphs into the women, present and past, that Hoffmann is obsessed with.
Majestic mezzo soprano Gemma Ní Bhriain , tries to hold it all together as his staunch friend, Nicklausse.
Slick
Director Tom Creed’s slick new production transposes the bewildering events of the opera into the dazzling and disorienting world of the 21st century, and takes inspiration from sources that include Ruben Östlund's satirical film,
The Square, and the British science-fiction television series Black Mirror.
Irish National Opera, artistic director, Fergus Sheil, sees The Tales of Hoffmann as “a big-hearted opera that wears its emotions on its sleeve.
“We are treated to some of the most luscious, heartfelt and touching music of the romantic era. Offenbach found the perfect balance of music, drama and vocal virtuosity in this opera,” Mr Sheil said.
Synnott conducts the INO Ensemble and the 16-member stellar cast, who perform 21 different roles .
Design ed by Katie Davenport, lighting design by Sinéad McKenna.
“Offenbach’s great opera is an extraordinary exploration of life and art, said director Tom Creed. “It combines pure feeling and wild fantasy in equal measure.”