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Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, December 2017

During a recent interview with German baritone Michael Volle he talked passionately to me about the new Stefan Herheim production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann he had appeared in at the Bregenz Festival in 2015. The performance had been filmed and Volle urged me to look out for the release of the DVD/Bluray. Having watched this production, in which Volle stars, I can fully understand his wholehearted enthusiasm. Herheim and his design team have successfully presented Offenbach’s masterpiece by merging a lewd and near-decadent burlesque from 1920/30s Paris or Berlin, with a gleaming contemporary cabaret and drag show. I found it all totally captivating and Offenbach writes such memorable music! © 2017 MusicWeb International

Charles H Parsons
American Record Guide, May 2017

The performance is terrific! All are deeply involved, committed, sing their hearts out. Swedish tenor Johansson is strikingly handsome, has the stamina for the demanding role, but is vocally stolid. Two ladies perform in an unusual combination: Avemo for coloratura Olympia and mezzo Giulietta. Fredrich combines lyric soprano Antonio and a doubling of mezzo Giulietta. Frenkel combines spoken, soprano, and mezzo in her three roles. Volle is all four villains—quite a performance. Mortagny does the traditional bit with all of the “clowns”. It’s a rapid-fire, exciting performance. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, March 2017

Swedish soprano Kerstin Avemo plays both Olympia and the dual role of Giulietta. A fine actress, Avemo provides an ideal amount of humour as the singing clockwork doll. …It is delivered with assurance, displaying her fluid, creamy voice and effective coloratura.

Made for the part of the hero Hoffmann, Swedish tenor Daniel Johansson is in sterling form. …Striking is the tenor’s strong and lyrical projection, with little suggestion of strain.

Stealing the show in the role of the four villains Lindorf, Coppélius, Miracle and Dapertutto plus inn-keeper Luther, is Michael Volle. …When Volle is around, everyone takes full notice, such is his acting, innate stage presence and commanding voice. Surmounting a steep challenge, Volle’s rich full tone is in admirable condition right from early in Act One …his total contribution all evening is magnificent.

German born Johannes Debus conducts the Wiener Symphoniker, who excel with playing of focus and considerable vitality. Crucially, too, the Prague Philharmonic Choir under chorus master Lukáš Vasilek is in quite splendid voice throughout.

This is a production where one senses a group of performers totally at one with the director’s vision. Stefan Herheim and his designers draw you in to this eminently creative and dazzlingly compelling production of Offenbach’s operatic masterpiece superbly performed by an impressive team of soloists. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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