Offenbach's masterpiece, based on three stories by the German author E.T.A. Hoffmann, is both a three-act opera and a trilogy of taut, individual dramas, all rolled into one.This Geneva production from 2002 features baritone Marc Laho in the tour-de-force triple villain roles, with three different standout sopranos as the tales' three heroines. French producer Olivier Py caused an uproar among Geneva operagoers with a staging of Tales of Hoffmann that features full-frontal male and female nudity and simulated on-stage lesbian and heterosexual sex.
Satire is a funny game. Offenbach’s parody of Napoleonic society and its social injustices uses figures from Classical mythology to render the comedy and comment at one remove, a trick pioneered by Aristophanes and used frequently during the intervening space of (approximately) 2368 years. Orphée’s success led Napoleon himself to order a Command Performance of the piece 18 months later, which is rather like The Queen inviting the Sex Pistols to a Royal Variety Show…Peter Quantrill
La jacquerie is a four-act opera commenced by Édouard Lalo in 1889 to a libretto by Édouard Blau and Simone Arnaud. The opera was unfinished when Lalo died in 1892, and it was completed by Arthur Coquard. The first performance was at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo on March 9, 1895.