‘...brilliant stagecraft, a conductor who knows how to extract high-definition performances, and a cast of versatile singer-actors led by an incomparable trio in the central roles.’
‘Richard Jones's inspired new production mixes a potent cocktail of image and reality, illusions and fantasies, with his trademark surreal humour’
‘Hoffmann is sung with tremendous verve and focused tone by Barry Banks.’
The Daily Telegraph
‘It sounds wonderful. Barry Banks’s Hoffmann is all ringing top notes and ecstatic self-delusion.’
‘the entire show is a succession of conjuring tricks which pass so smoothly and swiftly that at times you hardly register them’
‘Jarman, who plays all three women, sings the role to perfection.’
‘Georgia Jarman... is sensational. Bayley is faultless, as is Christine Rice's tremendous schoolboy Nicklausse. It's finely conducted by Antony Walker, too’.
‘A heady, hallucinatory pipe-dream of an opera-fantastique. To Offenbach’s own delightful swirl of fantasy, Jones adds layers of playful invention and distraction that will make your head spin.’
‘...light-touched conducting by Antony Walker and superb singing from Francine Merry’s chorus’
The Daily Telegraph
AN IRREVERENT AND WITTY PRACTITIONER
Known for his macabre humour and absurdist approach, Richard Jones is, in The Independent’s words, ‘one of the most irreverent and witty practitioners in opera’. Winner of five Olivier Awards – including one for his ENO Trojans – as well as two Evening Standard Awards and a South Bank Sky Arts Award, he recently collaborated with composer David Sawer and satirist Armando Iannucci (creator of The Thick of It) on the cosmetic surgery comedy Skin Deep and with composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and lyricist Richard Thomas (co-creator of Jerry Springer: The Opera) on the celebrity docu-opera Anna Nicole.
‘A dazzling example of Jones’s ability to provoke... laughter and horror at the same time. I can’t think of any other director in opera with this unusual gift.’
The Sunday Times on Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, ENO, 2008
ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES A LADY
Musically, the three soprano leads in The Tales of Hoffmann – Olympia, Antonia and Giulietta – seem to demand three different types of voice: coloratura, lyric and dramatic. Therefore different singers are usually cast in the roles. Dramatically, though, they are personifications of Hoffmann’s one ideal woman, and Offenbach clearly wanted them sung by a single performer. Cue Georgia Jarman, who has received rave reviews for a dazzling variety of roles – dramatic, lyric and coloratura – in opera houses across America, including the New York City Opera and the Met, and now brings her acclaimed assumption of all three Hoffmann heroines, already seen in Dallas, Boston, Bogotá and Warsaw, to the UK for the first time.
‘Bright, vocally agile and pitch-perfect... Georgia Jarman, as all four of Hoffmann’s lost loves, rose to the dramatic and musical challenges of the multiple roles.’
Opera News on The Tales of Hoffmann, Boston Lyric Opera, 2008
Born in Stoke-on-Trent and a former boy soprano and cornet player in local brass bands, Barry Banks is now firmly established as the UK’s leading bel canto tenor on the international circuit, enjoying a particularly close association with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, where he has partnered Renée Fleming in Rossini’s Armida, Natalie Dessay in Bellini’s La sonnambula and Anna Netrebko in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love. His even longer relationship with ENO began when he was hired to understudy Almaviva in The Barber of Seville and ended up performing. Notable ENO roles since then include Tamino in The Magic Flute, Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress and, most recently, his highly-praised Edgardo in David Alden’s acclaimed production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.
‘Banks ranks in the top class of Italian-style lyric tenors’
Daily Telegraph on ENO’s Lucia di Lammermoor, 2010
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