Very good, just short of great.
D. R. Schryer | Poquoson, VA United States | 10/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Since Offenbach died before completing his masterpiece, The Tales of Hoffmann, many different versions of this outstanding opera have been recorded. This recording is different in many ways from others we are used to hearing, yet it is probably closer to what Offenbach had in mind than other more familiar versions. But musicological questions aside, the important question is: "How good is a given performance?" This one is very good. I was very pleasantly surprised by Araiza. He gives a superb performance as Hoffmann. I wonder why we don't hear him more often. There's no surprise with Ramey who is excellent -- as one would expect -- in the bass roles. The female roles are sung well, although I prefer to hear Hoffmann's various loves sung by the same soprano, which is not the case in this recording. Until the version with Beverly Sills singing all of Hoffmann's loves is available on CD, this is my favorite of the versions of this magnificent opera which are currently available."
The best Hoffmann
A. Dixon | 10/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To keep it short...I own several different versions of Hoffmann. This one is simply the best. Great production, orchestration and vocals of course. Every currently available version of this opera has its flaws. I'm still at a loss to find one here though. Absolutely stunning. As an added bonus, you don't have to hear Domingo sing in it. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
I suppose everyone who loves Hoffmann will have an opinion as to whether the women should be sung by the same soprano. As they each represent a different aspect of Hoffmann's love, I prefer this perspective.
"Laisse eclore ton ame aux rayons de l'amour!""