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The Tales of Hoffmann
Janet Kenny takes the listeners through this grand French opera

The Tales of Hoffmann is Jacques Offenbach's glorious final masterpiece. The opera is based on the writings of E.T.A. Hoffmann, a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror who died in 1822. Hoffman could be called the father of science fiction (his diabolical fantasies inspired Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet). The Tales of Hoffmann has mad scientists, animated dolls, evil Paganini-type violinists and a hovering muse disguised as a human. In the middle of all this plant an egotistical young poet with delusions and stir until it explodes in colours.

Janet Kenny had a too brief career as a professional concert and opera singer in the 1960s. She sang roles in festivals including Glyndebourne and Belfast and performed in the Wigmore Hall, the Albert Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and various roles for a season with the Basilica Opera. This company was supported by The Arts Council of Great Britain, and its president was Sir John Barbirolli. Janet Kenny now writes poetry in Australia and recollects opera from an affectionate distance.

The Tales of Hoffmann featured in this programme is a performance recorded in 1971, conducted by Richard Bonynge with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Lead roles are by Plácido Domingo, who plays Hoffmann, and Joan Sutherland, who plays the four heroines. The performance can be bought from Amazon France.

The programme is offered in either CD quality, if you have a fast internet connection, or Radio quality if you have a slow connection.

    The Tales of Hoffmann     CD quality     Radio quality
  22/03/10. Duration: 1 hour

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