“LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN : Offenbach
Original Air Date: 09/26/2017
Cast: Debus; Grigolo, Naouri, Morley, Hartig, Volkova, Erraught
Media: SID.17390213 Tags: LIVE; 2017
SECOND NIGHT 2017-2018 SEASON
The New Yorker – Bartlett Sher’s production of Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” often feels disjointed in performance. But in the current revival it coalesces around Vittorio Grigolo’s thrilling performance in the title role, with each act emerging as a fever dream of frustrated longing. The bass Laurent Naouri is a wonderfully arch antagonist as the Four Villains; other standouts include Anita Hartig’s sensitively sung Antonia and Erin Morley’s dazzling Olympia. Offenbach was primarily a composer of operettas, and Johannes Debus, appropriately, conducts with rhythms that dance and melodies that gently waft into the air.
Observer – excerpt below, full review at link
Tenors Keep Show Afloat in Met ‘Hoffmann’ and ‘Magic Flute’
But “routine” doesn’t have to mean “dull,” as the opening week offered a bouquet of striking individual performances. The flashiest turn of all was tenor Vittorio Grigolo’s manic take on the title character in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann on September 26. For a more harrowing account of a poet spinning out of control, you’d have to imagine a biopic of Edgar Allan Poe played by Judy Garland.
Even the fanciful Garland comparison is accurate, because Grigolo is an artist whose voice just gushes out, sometimes giving the impression it’s in control of him rather than the other way around. And yet, in the taxing final scene reprise of the poet’s passionate ode “Ô Dieu! de quelle ivresse,” the tenor’s voice never flagged; in fact it seemed to grow ever more vibrant.
Among the rest of the cast, only soprano Erin Morley proved a worthy partner, trilling her way through the ornate role of the robot Olympia (one of Hoffmann’s ill-fated loves) with virtuosity and wit. She’s ready, I think, to take on this opera’s other two “lover” parts, Antonia and Giulietta, particularly since the artists the Met fielded for these roles were so nondescript.