Ooh, a terrific review from San Francisco Classical Voice, plus a separate feature article about the production on the website’s home page. From the review:
Berkeley Opera’s performance of The Tales of Hoffmann, which opened Saturday at the Julia Morgan Center, is a resounding success.
Jacques Offenbach’s opera, unfinished when he died, has been performed in widely different editions. Librettist David Scott Marley, benefitting from recent discoveries of Offenbach’s sketches for the last act, has returned to the original librettist’s work and also to the three actual tales by E.T.A. Hoffmann on which the opera is based.
Marley’s version makes convincing sense of the opera, and with its use of spoken dialogue is well adapted to the Julia Morgan space. He has returned to Offenbach’s original order of the three acts, and has eliminated music written by other composers. And the libretto abounds in delightful wordplay and audacious rhymes.
Yay! Raves for everybody!
The juxtaposition between emergent technology and the much more human, romantic themes are in part what led [director Phil] Lowery to use as a palette for this production the increasingly popular aesthetic of “steampunk.” Originally used as the name for a type of speculative fiction writing, the term now refers to artistic works and fashions incorporating the aesthetics and elemental limitations of the 19th century with more-modern concepts or futuristic fantasies. … For this production, it includes the presence of Victorianesque costumes with various gadgets and set pieces that give simultaneous nods to both old and new, like a remote control crank, complete with joystick, for the doll Olympia. Also, since this version includes the often-omitted “Violin Aria” for Nicklaus, Robért and Lorna Shashinda of the local Bear Paw Fiddles created a special “Steampunk” violin.
A nice posting, too, on the Opera-L email list:
Wanted to alert Bay Area folks that Berkeley Opera has put together a very good production of Tales of Hoffmann, with a clever English adaptation by David Scott Marley. It comes together very well -- singing, acting, orchestral playing, costumes, sets. Three more performances this week. I'll leave the reviewing to someone with more expertise -- I enjoyed it a great deal!