Talk:The Tales of Hoffmann

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Opera (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article falls within the scope of WikiProject Opera, a group writing and editing Wikipedia articles on operas, opera terminology, opera composers and librettists, singers, designers, directors and managers, companies and houses, publications and recordings. The project discussion page is a place to talk about issues and exchange ideas. New members are welcome!
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
WikiProject France (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject France, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of France on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.

Moving the Page[edit]

I have been trying to re-name this The Tales of Hoffmann but I've been having problems! I succeed in moving the film The Tales of Hoffmann to The Tales of Hoffmann (film) but that's about it! Kleinzach 00:53, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

  • You can only move a page if the target page does not exist, or if it were the previous name of the article and has never been edited since the move which is not the case here. If you really want to move the page, the you should follow the procedure described at Wikipedia:Requested_moves for it requires the help of an admin. I personally do not think that it is a necessary move (though I would not oppose it if you listed it on requested moves), for the article is at his original name, which is official policy regarding operas. I know that if there is a widely used english name (and this is the case here) the english name cand/should be used. But with the redirects actually in place, someone searching for the The Tales of Hoffmann would be directed on this page. If you moved the page this would just change the situation. So this represents quite a buraucratic work for almost no change. PS: very appropriate username for this page... Glaurung 07:35, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

The problem here was that 'The Tales of Hoffmann' pointed to the (minor) film rather than the major (opera). I moved the film to 'The Tales of Hoffmann (film)' and for consistency (in line with the editing policy as explained at Wikipedia:WikiProject Opera) tried to move 'Les contes d'Hoffmann' to 'The Tales of Hoffmann' with suitable redirects - but seem to have created technical problems.

Personally I don't like anglicized names (I don't use them on my own opera site) so my attitude to this is similar to yours, however I am concerned that the redirects work properly.

Kleinzach 17:47, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for looking at this.

Kleinzach 14:38, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Noted Arias[edit]

I wonder whether it would be better to have these in the order they appear in the opera? In other words From Act 1 to Act 3 etc. --Kleinzach 08:44, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

done :) - Jay 09:05, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Title revisited[edit]

I know this has been discussed a bit above, but I thought it might be worth noting that this guideline suggests English titles are preferable where possible, so I'm wondering if "Tales of Hoffman]] might be the more appropriate title for this article. I hear both the English and the French used commonly, and would therefore lean toward using the English title per the guideline above. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 09:18, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

According to the Opera Project list at Wikipedia:WikiProject Opera/English names this one did meet the criteria for using the English title, and it was so listed. I'm not sure when the title was changed back to the French. Having said that, the redirect from The Tales of Hoffmann solves any practical problems. Best. -- Kleinzach 11:06, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, true, but still, the guideline I cite suggests using English titles as the primary one (i.e., the one you see when reading the article). I may put in a requested move soon to see if there's any consensus. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 08:48, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was PAGE MOVED per discussion below. -GTBacchus(talk) 21:35, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Les contes d'HoffmannThe Tales of Hoffman — It's been discussed on this page a few times, and I thought I'd go ahead and suggest it. Our naming conventions suggest that an English title be used, if possible, and this is one of those relatively rare operas with a common English name, suggesting to me it should be the title of the article. —Heimstern Läufer (talk) 05:19, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Support. Customary. I see no reason to use French for one Offenbach operetta; we use Orpheus in the Underworld. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:16, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support since Hoffmann and Orpheus are the (only) two Offenbach titles usually translated. Those who don't translate them (like New Grove) usually hardly translate any European language titles (e.g., Tod und Verklärung) that Wikipedia normally does. — AjaxSmack 16:18, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The naming conventions don't say we should use a non-local "English" version just because it exists (Ratisbon? Coblence? Leghorn? Trent?)- it says we should use the most commonly used term in English, whatever it is. Even if it is of local origin, what is more English than what English uses most? Anyway, I have always heard of this referred to as "Tales of Hoffmann". I would be swayed by good evidence either way, but I would be surprised if the original French title is also the most used in English. Knepflerle (talk) 15:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)


Any additional comments:
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Hoffmann, not Hoffman[edit]

Whether we use the French title or the English title, Hoffmann has two n's. The page needs to be moved again. -- JackofOz (talk) 12:51, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Yep. Please let's move it. --Folantin (talk) 08:23, 18 August 2008 (UTC)


What language is the libretto in?Kdammers (talk) 13:03, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

French - Jay (talk) 16:09, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Act 2 and 3[edit]

I switched Act 2 to 3, and 3 to 2 (Guiletta 's act is Act 2, while Craspel's in Act 3) - Jay (talk) 17:22, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Hello, Jay - nice to see you back here. If you look at the section near the top of the article entitled "The different editions of the opera", you'll see that there's no consensus on the order of the acts. The Antonia act is often performed third because the music is better (and that's what they did at Covent Garden when I saw it there a year ago), but Offenbach's intention was to have the Giulietta act third. From the dramatic point of view, that makes more sense, as some of the music from that act is reprised in the Epilogue which follows immediately. Maybe the synopsis (whichever way the acts are arranged) should make this clear, e.g. "Act 2 (sometimes performed as Act 3)" and the reverse for Act 3. Best --GuillaumeTell 18:19, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
According to Jacques Offenbach and the librettist there has never been an oder Olympia - Giulietta - Antonia. Also the theater play by Barbier and Carré had the order Olympia - Antonia - Giulietta. The chaotic situation after Offenbach´s death and Carvalho´s changes caused confusion about the order of the acts. In the Antonia act there is a clear reference to the preceding Olympia act when Niklaus/the Muse mocks Hoffmann for having fallen to an automatic machine.

A few renowned directors, though, have chosen the differing order. For recent European productions see where a diverging order of the acts is noted. Olympia - Giulietta - Antonia: one might argue that Hoffmann´s first infatuation with a doll was a mishap, he then turns to a prostitute and is cheated, but finally makes a serious attempt to establish a relationship. Olympia - Antonia - Giulietta: having been deceived by a mechanical doll, Hoffmann plans to marry Antonia. When she prefers a career as a singer he finally seeks his luck with a courtesan. I think the original order of the acts makes more sense. If a director chooses to change the original order of the two acts and justifies the decision, why not. This opera is so frequently misunderstood and turned into a farce that a meaningful interpretation with a reversed order of the acts is preferable to a farce with the original order. Ontologix (talk) 20:14, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

The article says that the order (& names) of the acts is often varied and that there is no "correct" ordering, so why does the article then go on to number them? -- SteveCrook (talk) 13:22, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

What's the alternative? Just call them by their female main character? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:57, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Seems reasonable. Most people I know who talk about it refer to the Antonia segment or the Giulietta segment -- SteveCrook (talk) 16:43, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

sources and role table[edit]

thank you for the correction on sources; Ernest Newman claims that the character of Pitichinaccio comes from Signor Formica in The Serapion Brethren(?)

I would like to propose that, to correct some discrepancies in the current table, and to allow creators of roles in the Venice act to be named, the table be amended to this (I also added chorus):


Role Voice type Premiere cast, February 10, 1881
(Conductor: Jules Danbé)
Complete with 'Giulietta Act',
7 December 1881
(Conductor: -)
Andrès, Cochenille, Frantz tenor Pierre Grivot
Pitichinaccio tenor
Antonia, a young girl soprano Adèle Isaac
Crespel, Antonia's father bass Hypolite Belhomme
Giulietta, a courtesan soprano
Hermann, a student bass Teste
Hoffmann, a poet tenor Jean-Alexandre Talazac
Lindorf, Coppélius, Miracle bass-baritone Émile-Alexandre Taskin
Dapertutto bass-baritone
Luther bass Troy
Nathanaël, a student tenor Chenevières
Nicklausse, the muse mezzo-soprano Marguerite Ugalde
Olympia, a mechanical doll soprano Adèle Isaac
Peter Schlémil, in love with Giulietta bass
Spalanzani, an inventor tenor E. Gourdon
Stella, a singer soprano Adèle Isaac
Voice of the mother of Antonia soprano Dupuis
Students, Guests

Cg2p0B0u8m (talk) 16:51, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

We often put revision casts into these tables, so that's fine, however I think it would be a good idea to explain it in the text. Normally we have a whole section on 'Performance history' (distinct from 'revision history') but that's missing here. --Kleinzach 01:51, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

E.T.A. Hoffmann sources for the play and libretto[edit]

In fact more than the three named works by Hoffmann were used in composing the play and libretto. Elements can be found in Don Juan (= Don Giovanni) and Klein Zaches, genannt Zinnober. Possibly Don Juan inspired Barbier and Carré to compose the play. Ontologix (talk) 16:48, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

Venice act[edit]

I fully believe this took a bit to get in, but very early press illustrations include this act. Any idea what date, exactly, it came in? Adam Cuerden (talk) 13:36, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

  • I wonder if there is a mistake on Gallica and in fact the picture is of the 1851 play? Cg2p0B0u8m (talk) 16:31, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
  • It seems to fit a lot of specific details, like the gondola Giulietta left on in early performances. Adam Cuerden (talk) 05:01, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

I don't think the act was performed in Paris for the rest of the century, which is why the 1904 Monte Carlo production was important. It was seen briefly in Vienna, and possibly in the places listed in the last paragraph of the Performance History. If the artist did die in 1880 he was either imagining it or depicting the play. Cg2p0B0u8m (talk) 20:42, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

Died circa 1880 is perfectly consistent with him still being alive in 1881. And that presumes I've correctly identified the signature. Also, the article says the Giulietta act was performed late 1881, but then a fire struck which delayed further performances to 1904.
the fire was the Vienna Ringtheater in December. I suppose he could have been there if he was a travelling specialist in theatrical illustration. Cg2p0B0u8m (talk) 22:15, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
I don't think we should presume it's the play without actual evidence of such, e.g. that the scene fits specific details in the play that were not in early operatic performances. Adam Cuerden (talk) 22:05, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
No of course we must not guess, but given the lack of an operatic Venice act in Paris during the artist's lifetime, it must be a possibility, unless he imagined it from conversations with Barbier and Offenbach before Carvalho interfered. Cg2p0B0u8m (talk) 22:15, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
But Offenbach died in 1880, so that's not saying much.'hoffmann provides fairly strong backing for the first image of the set being accurate - there's the usual compressions and simplifications that engravings tend to have, but that's clearly the same set.'hoffmann.langEN and'hoffmann.langEN are also similar, providing decent evidence for at least one of the three. Adam Cuerden (talk) 11:49, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Don't get me wrong. I do appreciate the need to defend the point. It's important to get this right. Adam Cuerden (talk) 11:53, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't know what to add... 1851=premiere of the play by Barbier and Carré; May 1879=private concert performance of main extracts; 1880 possible death of artist; Feb 1881 posthumous premiere at Opéra-Comique without Venice act; Dec 1881 two performances in Vienna with Venice act; The Gallica page is a selection of Hoffmann illustrations; maybe the original source for the Lamy is needed? Cg2p0B0u8m (talk) 18:41, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
I personally would say that having the same set as other opera illustrations is ample evidence. Otherwise, we're presuming a 30-year storage of the prologue set and it being reused at a different theatre, by a different company. Adam Cuerden (talk) 22:26, 6 September 2015 (UTC)


Why are there no notes to direct people to the various editions mentioned in the Editions section? Was the joint project to be published in 2011 published? Can the autograph music that was found later be accessed? (talk) 20:14, 12 August 2017 (UTC)