An 'opera fantastique’ which blurs the lines between reality and fantasy.

Les contes d’Hoffmann

Jacques Offenbach, De Nationale Opera

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E.T.A. Hoffmann’s fantastic stories come to life in Les contes d’Hoffmann (1881). This ‘opéra fantastique’ is Jacques Offenbach’s most famous work, with music that moves between the lyricism of the world-famous ‘Barcarolle’ and the lightfootedness of music hall. At the heart of this opera are three tragic love stories centred on the writer Hoffmann – played by the brilliant tenor John Osborn. Dutch National Opera, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Rizzi, and the young German director Tobias Kratzer present a classical masterpiece, which blurs the lines between reality
and fantasy.


Carlo Rizzi made his debut as a conductor with Donizetti’s L’ajo nell’imbarazzo in 1982, and was appointed Conductor Laureate with Welsh National Opera (WNO), where he has conducted Fidelio,

Peter Grimes, Salome, Don Carlo and Der fliegende Holländer. Rizzi studied at the conservatoire of Milan, and worked on various productions by Teatro alla Scala. In 2004, Rizzi was appointed principal conductor of the Welsh National Opera for the second time, a position he had also held between 1992 and 2001. In 2015, he was appointed Conductor Laureate with WNO, where he has conducted Fidelio, Peter Grimes, Salome, Don Carlo and Der fliegende Holländer (with Bryn Terfel). At the centenary edition of the BBC Proms, he conducted the WNO orchestra in their first promenade concert. Rizzi is a regular guest conductor at leading opera houses and festivals all over the world, including Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala and The Royal Opera London. Besides operas, he has conducted several orchestras, such as Orchestre du Théâtre, Royal de La Monnaie, Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. Productions he has recently conducted include Guillaume Tell, Mosè in Egitto (WNO), La fanciulla del West (Deutsche Oper Berlin), Un ballo in machera (La Monnaie Brussels), Cavalleria rusticana | Pagliacci, Tosca (Teatro alla Scala), Nabucco (Lyric Opera Chicago) and Cavalleria rusticana | Sanca Susanna (Opéra de Paris). Productions he conducted at Dutch National Opera: Don Pasquale, Luisa Miller, Otello, Macbeth, Mefistofele, Cavalleria rusticana|Pagliacci, Un ballo in maschera, Villazón concerts and Lucia di Lammermoor. 

Tobias Kratzer studied art history and philosophy in Munich and Bern as well as directing at the August Everding Bavarian Theatre Academy. In 2008 he won the first prize at the international competition for stage directing and stage design for his production of Rigoletto. He is a freelance opera director. He has worked with the Opera Studio of the Bavarian State Opera (Mozart’s Così fan tutte), Leipzig Opera House (Händel’s Admeto), Oper Graz (Bellini’s La sonnambula), Wermland Opera (Verdi’s Rigoletto, 2009, Bach’s St. John Passion, 2012; and Revolution Trilogy, consisting of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Beethoven’s Fidelio, 2014). His most acclaimed directorial works include Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (2009, Theater Heidelberg), Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier (2010) and Wagner’s Tannhäuser (2011, both at Theater Bremen), Tüür’s Wallenberg (2012, Badische Staatstheater Karlsruhe), Wagner’s Lohengrin (2013, German National Theatre Weimar). For his productions of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the Lucerne Theatre and Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in Karlsruhe, he was also nominated as Opera Director of the Year by the magazine Opernwelt (2011, 2014). In 2019 he will direct Tannhäuser at the Bayreuth Festival. 

Dutch National Opera (DNO) is known for its diverse programming of both classic and modern operas and for the high quality of all its performances. Through innovative productions, works especially composed for the Dutch National Opera and a fresh take on familiar repertoire, this wonderful form of art is kept alive and given a place in the future. With Director Pierre Audi, the Dutch National Opera has a huge reputation in the international world of opera and all new productions are eagerly anticipated. In 2013, DNO won the international Opera Award for the best production of the year. 



Jacques Offenbach
E.T.A Hoffmann
musical direction
Carlo Rizzi
Tobias Kratzer
set design, costume
Rainer Sellamaier
Klaus Bertisch
John Osborn,
Maartje Rammeloo,
Nina Minasyan,
Ermonela Jaho,
Christine Rice
Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest
De Nationale Opera

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