The Tales of Hoffmann  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Tales of Hoffmann (French: Les contes d'Hoffmann) is an opéra fantastique by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was written by Jules Barbier, based on three short stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann. Hoffmann is the protagonist in the opera.

Barbier and Michel Carré had previously written a play, Les contes fantastiques d'Hoffmann, which was produced at the Odéon Theatre in Paris in 1851, and which Offenbach had seen.

The stories used in the opera were:

  • "Der Sandmann" ("The Sandman"), 1816.
  • "Rath Krespel" ("Councillor Krespel", also known in English as "The Cremona Violin") 1818.
  • "Das verlorene Spiegelbild" ("The Lost Reflection") from Die Abenteuer der Sylvester-Nacht (The Adventures of New Year's Eve), 1814.

The aria "Chanson de Kleinzach" ("Song of Little Zaches") in the prologue is based on the short story "Klein Zaches, genannt Zinnober" ("Little Zaches, called cinnabar"), 1819.

The Barcarolle, "Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour" is the opera's most famous number.


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Tales of Hoffmann" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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