The Tales of Hoffmann

Synopsis

 

Act 1 (Olympia)

This act is based on a portion of "Der Sandmann" (The Sandman).

Hoffmann's first love is Olympia, an automaton created by the scientist Spalanzani. Hoffmann falls in love with her, not knowing that Olympia is a mechanical doll ("Allons! Courage et confiance...Ah! vivre deux!" – Come on! Courage and confidence ... Ah! to live!). To warn Hoffmann, Nicklausse, who knows the truth about Olympia, sings a story of a mechanical doll who looked like a human, but Hoffmann ignores him ("Une poupée aux yeux d'émail" – A doll with enamel eyes). Coppélius, Olympia's co-creator and this act's incarnation of Nemesis, sells Hoffmann magic glasses that make Olympia appear as a real woman ("J'ai des yeux" – I have eyes).

Olympia sings one of the opera's most famous arias, "Les oiseaux dans la charmille" (The birds in the arbor, nicknamed "The Doll Song"), during which she periodically runs down and needs to be wound up before she can continue. Hoffmann is tricked into believing that his affections are returned, to the bemusement of Nicklausse, who subtly tries to warn his friend ("Voyez-la sous son éventail" – See her under her fan). While dancing with Olympia, Hoffmann falls on the ground and his glasses break. At the same time, Coppélius appears and tears Olympia apart to retaliate against Spalanzani, who tricked him out of his fees. With the crowd laughing at him, Hoffmann realizes that he was in love with an automaton.

 

Act 2 (Antonia)

This act is based on "Rath Krespel".

After a long search, Hoffmann finds the house where Crespel and his daughter Antonia are hiding. Hoffmann and Antonia loved each other, but were separated when Crespel decided to hide his daughter from Hoffmann. Antonia has inherited her mother's talent for singing, but her father forbids her to sing because of the mysterious illness from which she suffers. Antonia wishes that her lover would return to her ("Elle a fui, la tourterelle - She fled, the dove"). Her father also forbids her to see Hoffmann, who encourages Antonia in her musical career, and therefore endangers her without knowing it. Crespel tells Frantz, his servant, to stay with his daughter, and when Crespel leaves, Frantz sings "Jour et nuit je me mets en quatre - Day and night I quarter my mind."

When Crespel leaves his house, Hoffmann takes advantage of the occasion to sneak in, and the lovers are reunited (love duet: "C'est une chanson d'amour - It's a love song"). When Crespel returns, he receives a visit from Dr Miracle, the act's Nemesis, who forces Crespel to let him heal Antonia. Still in the house, Hoffmann listens to the conversation and learns that Antonia may die if she sings too much. He returns to her room and makes her promise to give up her artistic dreams. Antonia reluctantly accepts her lover's will. Once she is alone, Dr Miracle enters Antonia's room and tries to persuade her to sing and follow her mother's path to glory, stating that Hoffmann is sacrificing her to his brutishness and loves her only for her beauty. With mystic powers, he raises a vision of Antonia's dead mother and induces Antonia to sing, causing her death. Crespel arrives just in time to witness his daughter's last breath. Hoffmann enters the room and Crespel wants to kill him, thinking that he is responsible for his daughter's death. Nicklausse saves his friend from the old man's vengeance.

 

Act 3 (Giulietta)

This act is very loosely based on Die Abenteuer der Silvester-Nacht (A New Year's Eve Adventure).

Venice. The act opens with the barcarolle "Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour - Beautiful night, oh night of love". Hoffmann falls in love with the courtesan Giulietta and thinks she returns his affections ("Amis, l'amour tendre et rêveur - Friends, tender and dreamy love"). Giulietta is not in love with Hoffmann but only seducing him under the orders of Captain Dapertutto, who has promised to give her a diamond if she steals Hoffmann's reflection from a mirror ("Scintille, diamant - Sparkles, diamond"). The jealous Schlemil (cf. Peter Schlemihl for a literary antecedent), a previous victim of Giulietta and Dapertutto (he gave Giulietta his shadow), challenges the poet to a duel, but is killed. Nicklausse wants to take Hoffmann away from Venice and goes looking for horses. Meanwhile, Hoffmann meets Giulietta and cannot resist her ("O Dieu! de quelle ivresse - O God! of what intoxication"): he gives her his reflection, only to be abandoned by the courtesan, to Dapertutto's great pleasure. Hoffmann tells Dapertutto that his friend Nicklausse will come and save him. Dapertutto prepares a poison to get rid of Nicklausse, but Giulietta drinks it by mistake and drops dead in the poet's arms.

Program and cast

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May 2020
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Slovak National Theatre - SND, New Building

The New Building of the Slovak National Theatre was designed by the architects Martin Kusý, Pavol Paňák and Peter Bauer. Their proposal won the competition that brought together fifty-three projects. The building stretches over seven stories. It houses over two thousand rooms and three main halls (The Opera and Ballet Stage, and the Drama Stage, and The Studio). The building is also home to a restaurant seating 1,200, a club, café, libresso and a kitchen.

The noble feel of the building is further enhanced by a number of outdoor and indoor art pieces. A fountain by Alexander Biľkovič, Iľja Skoček and Pavol Bauer is located in the front court. The entrance lobby prides itself with the Spring by the architect Pavol Bauer and the painter Dušan Buřil. The splendour of the front is further enhanced by the cascade by peter Roller and two towers by the architect Pavol Bauer. In addition to these works that are part of the building, the indoor areas are often decorated with theatre costumes and exhibitions.

SND New Building opened on 14 April 2007 at 7PM. The opening ceremony was attended by the then President of Slovakia Ivan Gašparovič and Minister of Culture Marek Maďarič.

 

How to get there

 

The venue opens to visitors one hour prior to the beginning of the performance.

 

BY CAR 

Visitors attending any SND performance are welcome to park free of charge, on the parking lot adjacent to the theatre.

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT 

The public transport lines that take you to the SND are bus lines No 28, 50, 70, 78, 88, 95, 133, 801 and tram lines No 2, 4, 5 & 6 that stop at the square Šafárikovo námestie, as well as the trolleybus line No 210.

 

Buses

Bus stop SND New Building (adjacent to the SD New Building):
Bus line No 28
Bus line No 133
Bus line No 801 (international bus line)

Bus stop Landererova (adjacent to the SND New Building): 
Bus line No 50 (from the direction OD Slimák)
Bus line No 88
Bus line No 95

Bus stop Malá scéna (within walking distance):
Bus line No 70
Bus line No 78

Bus line No 50 (in the direction from the Aupark)
Bus line No 28 (also servicing the bus stop SND New Building/Nová budova SND)
Bus line No 95 (also servicing the bus stop Landererova)
Bus line No 133 (also servicing the bus stop SND New Building/ Nová budova SND)

 

Trams
Tram stop Šafárikovo námestie (within walking distance)

Tram lines No 2, 4, 5 & 6 (an option to transfer to bus lines No 95 – stop Malá scéna, and/or Landererova, No 78 – stop Malá scéna)

 

Trolleybus:
Stop Nová budova SND/ SND New Building (adjacent to the SND New Building):

Trolleybus stop Ni 210 (in the direction from the main train Station/ Hlavná stanica Bratislava – stop Nová budova SND ( SND New Building)

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