Best Opera - 2011
The Tales of Hoffman
As with the best operas, The Tales of Hoffman, a 19th-century three-act work by German-born French composer Jacques Offenbach, is a stirring story that involves forbidden love, ominous symbolism, and tragic, untimely deaths. But unlike other operas, it also features enchanted mirrors, trippy magic goggles, and animatronic sex dolls. Based on the short stories of German fantasy and horror author E.T.A. Hoffman, with a French libretto by Jules Barbier, The Tales of Hoffman follows the poet's drunken odyssey of love. True to its creatively ambitious ways, Florida Grand Opera delivered a fast-paced epic production exceptionally conducted by Lucy Arner and featuring stirring performances by tenor David Pomeroy and soprano Elizabeth Futral. A fantasy opera such as The Tales of Hoffman can easily stall and languish under its own weight, but FGO produced a well-crafted spectacle that effectively captured the opera's grand scale and convoluted plot.