Kulturkompasset | critics of culture events

Hoffmann in Monte-Carlo

Hoffmann in Monte-Carlo

Monte-Carlo January 26 th 2018
Review by Torkil Baden
Les Contes d’Hoffmann by Jules Barbier and Jacques Offenbach (1881)
L’Opéra de Monte-Carlo.
Playing 22-31.January 2018

Olga and Jose fighting...

Olga Peretyatko and Juan Diego Flórez fighting desperately for love. Photo: Alain Hanel

The problematic figure of romanticist Hoffmann does not convince in this production, but the cast around him does.

This opéra fantastique takes us into the essence of romanticism: a longing so strong that it only can be
fulfilled in the dreams – and ultimately in death. But creativity can blossom throught tears and love.
The title role of Hoffmann has a difficult task in the evergreen score of Offenbach. All the the way he meets
paradoxes: singing the lyrical songs with dramatic intensity, being a credible man who falls in limitless love with any female, and the fundamental conflict of artistic dream and reality.
Peruvian tenor star Juan Diego Flórez gradually grows vocally during the performance and meets the
musical challenge. But we do not get into the complexity of this romanticist personality. The scenic
direction makes him mostly a one-dimensional desperado.
Director Jean-Louis Grinda Grinda balances between the static and the monumentality in this production,
originally from 2010. The mighty chorus carries important episodes, like the wonderful carnival of Venice
and the opening tavern scene. The scenic design includes a brilliant projection of the Monte Carlo-opera on the backdrop- we are in the midst of the drama. Another effective dreamlike treat is the use of
expressionistic shadows behind screen.

Effective shadows

Effective shadows in the scenic design. Photo: Alain Hanel

Russian Olga Peretyatko fulfills four diffent personalities, like the score demands. Some productions of
Hoffmann gives the role to diffent singers and loose the basic idea. With her wonderful clear and bright
soprano she shows her versatility as the prima donna, the automatic doll, the seducing courtesan, and above
all the spontanous twenty year old girl.


Mefisto-Nicolas Courjal revealing the doll. Photo: Alain Hanel

Most impressive on stage is French Nicolas Courjal with his Mefisto-like bass.
Canadian Jacques Lacombe keeps a tight grip of everything with a Offenbachian schwung and some
wonderful crescendi. The Monte-Carlo Philharmonics plays as usual on the highest level with many
exquisite wind solos.

Successfull cast

Successful cast with the Monte-Carlo opera house in front and in the back. Photo: Torkil Baden

PS Hoffmann is dreaming and loving in the opera house next to the Rallye Monte Carlo, both performing
during the same week and both carrying a longing for infinite success…….


Torkil Baden of Kulturkompasset between Rallye Monte Carlo 2018 and Hoffmann. Photo: Liv Baden

Hoffmann: Juan Diego Flórez
Olympia / Antonia / Giulietta: Stella: Olga Peretyatko
Lindorf/Coppelius/Dr. Miracle/Capitaine Apertutto: Nicolas Courjal French
Director: Jean-Louis Grinda Grinda (production from 2010)
Scenic design: Laurent Castaingt
Costumes: David Belugou
Musical direction: Jacques Lacombe
Monte-Carlo Opera Chorus
Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte-Carlo