After he had completed his studies of music in Paris, Jacques Offenbach (1819–1880) first became a splendid violoncellist and later on a composer who not only ruled on the Parisian stages for more than thirty years, but was also considered a great dramatist and composer, excelling both in melody and compositional technique, and boasting a knack for comedy, parody and poetry as well as a great sense of theatre. Beside a myriad of shorter works, the famous composer also created much lengthier compositions, among which were such operatic pieces as Orpheus in the Underworld (1858), one of the premiere title inour stage in 2015 as well, The Fair Helene (1864), Parisian Life (1866) and Bluebeard (1866). In 2005 we also staged in Cankarjev dom a highly acclaimed international premiere of his romantic opera The Rhine Nixes (1864). In spite of his extensive oeuvre, Offenbach managed to establish himself in the world of opera only with The Tales of Hoffmann (1881), which became his posthumous work. The orchestration for the opera's premiere was completed a few months after his death by Ernest Guiraud. Les Contes fantastiques d'Hoffmann, a play in five acts by Jules Barbier and Michel Careé, characterised by its interlacement of the dream and real worlds is based on the three famous novellas by German poet and composer E. T. A. Hoffmann. And it is exactly this work that had inspired Offenbach to create his famous fantastic romantic opera. In each of the opera's three episodes Hoffmann is a main personality, around whom revolves the poetically and psychologically-based story about the poet's three loves and his demise. The Macedonian theatre director, Aleksander Popovski, who has already created acclaimed performances in a number of Slovenian theatres, presented himself with this work on our stage for the first time.
Text: Tatjana Ažman