Tales of Hoffman 2023

  • Posted on: 20 June 2023
  • By: Michael Withers

Our ‘Page to stave’ concert was a great success. The programme included references to the literary origins of most of the pieces we played – emphasising that the stories of operas have their roots in book, plays and poems. We tried to mix the familiar choruses with some lesser-known but equally exciting extracts, so the audience enjoyed such pieces as the ‘Easter Hymn’ from Cavalleria Rusticana and ‘Speed your journey’ from Nabucco as well as the ‘House Beautiful’ scene from Vaughan Williams’ Pilgrim’s Progress and the peasant’s chorus from Boito’s Mefistofele’.

We were also privileged to be able to include two first performances. Tim Nail is our regular accompanist and Steve Hawksley gave a beautiful performance of Tim’s setting of the Yeats poem ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’. We were delighted that Nick Bicât was able to join us for the first performance of two pieces from his community work ‘Nova Drift’.

Tales of Hoffmann

We have already started rehearsing for our Autumn show, The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach.

Tales of Hoffmann tells the story of the four women that Hoffmann – a poet – has fallen in love with; they include a mechanical doll, a doomed singer and a courtesan. But Hoffmann is being watched over by the Muse of Poetry who has no intention of allowing Hoffmann’s love life to detract from writing his poetry!

The opera was written at the end of Offenbach’s life and they style is far removed from the frothy, satirical operettas he had written previously. Hoffmann is a much more romantic opera – often called an opera-fantastique, and it features a wealth of beautiful, lyrical tunes – including the famous ‘Barcarolle’.

The cast includes Veronica Brooks as Hoffmann’s loves, Matt Connolly as Hoffmann and Steve Hawksley as the villain, the voice of unmitigated evil!

There is still time to join the Heber Opera chorus for this production – if you are quick! If you are interested, please email Michael Withers before 25 June 2023 for more information.

Watch this space for more information about ‘The Tales of Hoffmann’ in the coming weeks.

Hoffmann will be performed in Lindfield, Steyning, Uckfield and Hurstpierpoint in September. Tickets for the performances will be available from 1 July 2023.