Offenbach Tales Critic. Barcelona

Cuentos Hoffmann.Offenbach.
Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona. 19 Febrero2013

These representations of Les Contes d’Hoffmann have had a second cast, which is that is the one I deal with now.
Nothing changes on the stage production of Laurent Pelly, which seams to short to me in general, being the acts of Olympia and Antonia, the best achivement, while the Giulietta is the worst ones, while prologue and epilogue did not get the interest of the Viewer awaken.
The conduction of Stephane Deneve has been in the same line as with the first cast. A good read, in which I was surprised that the Antonia act was represented slower as the previous day.
The new Hoffmann was Ismael Jordi from Jerez, which turned out pretty little suited to the vocal demands of the character. Jordi is a refined singer, but it is too light for Hoffmann, resulting his tone more nasal than usual and his singing of a greater monotony, by his lack of adequacy He had no tessitura problems, unlike what happened with Michael Spyres.
These representations initially offered a single soprano for the three female characters – four, if we add the Stella episode. In the first cast Natalie Dessay was anounced and in the second to the Cuban Eglise Gutiérrez. I already said a couple of days ago that the French decided to deal only with the part of Antonia. Eglise Gutiérrez resigned to Olympia, singing only parts of Antonia and Giulietta. The truth is that I was not suprised, since I do not see where she could got away with the character of the doll, as neither the one of the courtesan, whose tessitura is to serious for her, resulting in forced and almost inaudible. She is most suitable for Antonia, but she is not the ideal interpreter, apart from some medium quality voices, since her instrument lost harmonics whenever the tessitura climbs. Sometimes she have difficulties in the high notes and others she resolve them well. He does not leave a great memory .
With Eglise Gutierrez escape from Olympia decision, we could again enjoy the performance of Kathleen Kim as the doll, which has been the best of the two casts..
The muse and Nicklausse were interpreted by the Catalan mezzo Gemma Coma-Alabert, who did well, except open up sounds that are unappealing.
The American Oren Gradus dealt with 4 Devils and did so without penalty or glory. His instrument is Messing Amplitude to result sufficiently credible and threatening in these characters.
The best the secondary characters were Carlos Chausson (Crespel), Francisco Vas (4 cameos) and Manel Esteve Madrid (Spalanzani). Well met Isaac Galán (Schlemil), Alex Sanmartí (Luther) and Airam Hernández (Nathanael), while the weaker were Salomé Haller (Antonia’s mother) and Gabriel Diap (Hermann).
The Liceu had notable gaps, an entry that did not reach 85% of the capacity. Holes were abundant in the more expensive locations. The public was warmer than in the first cast. The biggest ovations were for Kathleen Kim.

Representation began promptly and had a total time of 3 hours and 49 minutes, including two intermissions. The strictly musical duration was 2 hours and 53 minutes, i.e. 3 minutes more than in the first cast, been all the difference in the Antonia Act. The final applause lasted for 5 minutes.

The price of the most expensive ticket was 105 euros, costing 90 euros stalls armchair. In the upper floors prices ranged between 78 and 35 euros. There were tikets with reduced or no visibility for 25 and 13 euros, respectively.

Photographs: Courtesy of the Liceu

Copyright: A.. Bofill

José M. Irurzun