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Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann -- Royal Opera House/Pretre DVD

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This famous and highly-praised Royal Opera production by film director John Schlesinger filmed in 1981 is as good as we are ever likely to see. The spectacular designs by Maria Bjornson and William Dudley vividly bring Hoffman's nightmare world to life. The brilliant cast is led by Placido Domingo as Hoffmann in one of his towering portrayals. He has become wholly identified with this part in a way that no other artist has.

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Seeking to exorcise the failure of his current love affair, the poet Hoffmann tells the tales of his three past loves - the doll-like Olympia, the high-class courtesan Giulietta, and the ambitious but delicate Antonia - and recalls how each was thwarted by the evil influence of his rival. Jacques Offenbach's opera is brought to the Royal Opera House, with Placido Domingo and Luciana Serra heading an international cast.

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