Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

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Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

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Monday, October 30, 2006
"Pursued by furies," eh? Jolly good yours aren't Councilman Lindorf, who always carries his resolutions, his liquor, and his women; Prof. Coppelius, whose magic glasses can make a plastic girl look alive or a bad check look good; Doctor Miracle, always on hand the day your loved one dies; or Captain Dapertutto, confidant of courtesans and a discriminating collector of the shadows and reflections of men.

The above are from Offenbach's THE TALES OF HOFFMANN. This article is informative, but I disagree that the formerly-traditional order of acts (Olympia-Giulietta-Antonia) is "absurd": a good performance of the Chère enfant trio -- Antonia, Dr. Miracle, and the supposed ghost of Antonia's mother, conjured by Dr. Miracle to inspire Antonia to sing herself to death -- is emotionally exhausing and leaves no room for anything except the Epilogue. (The Giulietta act could work in the #3 position -- if über-editor Michael Kaye ever makes up his mind which of several wildly contrasting "versions" of it is the "real" one.)

My favorite audio recording. Don't know the DVDs well enough to make a recommendation.

Andrea Rost as Antonia, Samuel Ramey as Dr. Miracle

ETA (which happen to be the historical Hoffmann's initials, as well as signifying "Edited to Add"): If you want to the sample the more "authentic" version edited by Prof. Kaye -- and it has its moments, I must say -- try this recording: Jeffrey Tate's meditative tempi aid in Offenbach's well-known desire to assert by means of this opera (and I paraphrase): "I know I'm a boulevardier who writes farceur operettas, but I really, really can put serious dark fantasy on the opera stage!"