Magazine article Opera Canada

Saint Paul

Magazine article Opera Canada

Saint Paul

Article excerpt

Minnesota Opera mounted a fascinating new co-production of Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann, which it shares with several other companies. It was a brilliantly conceived and exquisitely rendered creation, and an exciting performance. Director Helena Binder kept the story vibrant with an abundance of exotic characters and clever visual images. She constantly proved herself a significant new directorial presence.

Minnesota's casting was first rate. Tenor Richard Troxell was ideal as Hoffmann. On stage almost constantly, he sang winningly and was a highly energized and convincing actor. Bass-baritone Dean Peterson showed great acting skill, creating remarkably distinctive personas for each of his four villains. Yet he often roughened his singing style too much as he concentrated on his characterizations, and even his "Scintille diamant" aria lacked his usual vocal suaveness. Mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala, singing the newly fashioned dual role of Nicklausse and Hoffmann's Muse, had a fine, fresh tone and easy acting manner, which made her an audience favorite. Soprano Nili Riemer (Olympia) showed amazing high notes and high comic style, and soprano Alison Bates was a strongly alluring Giulietta. …

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