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Overall rating:


Reference number: 12344

Date: 1980c

Sound: sound

Colour: bw

Fiction: fiction

Running time: 66.56 mins

Description: A full performance of Tales of Hoffman, performed by The Scottish Ballet at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh. The cast includes Wendy Roe, Noriko Ohara, Eleanor Moore, Sally Collard-Gentle, Paul Tyers, and Nigel Spencer. See also ref. 12301

Adapted from Offenbach's popular opera, the tales span Hoffmann's life from youth to old age and tell of his four loves: for a life-like doll, a ballerina, an alluring courtesan and an opera singer. (https://www.peterdarrell.org/content/works_1970s/)

‘With ‘Tales of Hoffmann’, Darrell’s flair for vivid storytelling produced one of the company’s most popular works – indeed, this witty, original response to Offenbach’s music was still being regularly revived, and still being acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, until the end of the 1990s.’ (Scottish Ballet: Forty Years, p.17)

‘This ballet, already acknowledged as a classic in its own time, is adapted from the story and music of Offenbach’s popular opera of the same name. The tales which Span Hoffmann’s life from youth to old age tell of his four loves, first of an opera singer, then a life-like doll, next a ballerina and finally for an alluring courtesan.

Peter Darrell’s production of Tales of Hoffmann was first presented by The Scottish Ballet in 1972 and occupies a deservedly popular place in the company’s repertoire. It was chosen for a Royal Gala Performance in Glasgow in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in March 1979.’ (STA SB 15/3d)

Tales of Hoffmann was premiered by The Scottish Ballet at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh on 6 April 1972. Tales of Hoffmann has been recorded in Benesh Movement Notation by Bronwen Curry.
(STA SB 15/11e)

In between Acts One and Two of Tales of Hoffman, this recording jumps to an excerpt from Cheri. The performance is similar, but not identical to, ref. {10917 }and may also feature Patrick Bissell and Galina Samsova. The similarity to this recording indicates that it was probably recorded at the King's Theatre in Edinburgh in September 1980.

Based closely on the famous novel by Colette, Cheri traces the story of a passionate and ultimately tragic love affair between Lea and her young lover Cheri.

At the age of 49, Lea de Lonval is nearing the end of a successful career as a richly kept courtesan. Young and old alike envy her the possession of Cheri. When Lea discovers from Cheri’s mother, Madame Peloux, that he is to marry Edmee the daughter of Marie-Louise, she chides him for not being man enough to tell her himself but gives him some wedding presents. After the marriage, which has been attended by several old friends of Madame Peloux, Lea prepares to go away. On her return she is suddenly disturbed by Cheri who has fled from Edmee after a quarrel. The following morning in the revealing light of day, Cheri is embarrassed and pretends to be asleep while Lea prepares herself at the mirror. Lea realises that Cheri’s visit is only due to an acute attack of nostalgia and indicates that he should leave. Left alone, Lea goes to her mirror and cruelly examines her face marked by age, and her neck that for an instant she conceals with her pearls. The action takes place between Lea’s boudoir and the Wintergarden at the home of Madame Peloux. (synopsis from Scottish Theatre Archive: STA SB 10/27a)

Cheri was premiered by The Scottish Ballet at the King’s Theatre Edinburgh on 2 September 1980 as part of the Edinburgh International Festival

Cheri was recorded in Benesh movement notation by Grant Coyle.

Please note this is a copy of the raw capture of the original analogue video for preservation and as such may display defects such as dropout, washed out colour and sound fluctuation.

Credits: Tales of Hoffmann
Choreographer: Peter Darrell
Music: Jacques Offenbach, arranged by John Lanchberry
Designs by: Alastair Livingstone
Lighting: John B Read
Scenario: Peter Darrell

Choreographer: Peter Darrell
Music: David Earl
Scenario: Colette de Jouvenal and Peter Darrell, based on the book by Colette
Designer: Philip Prowse
Lighting: Ian Irving

Shotlist: Prologue (00.15-12.50)
La Stella - A tavern outside the Opera House
Hoffmann is drinking with his friends while awaiting the arrival of La Stella, his latest love, who is appearing at the Opera House. He is asked to explain the significance of three souvenirs which are on his table but at first refuses. La Stella arrives and gives her maid a note for Hoffmann which, unseen by him, is intercepted by Counsellor Lindorf. Hoffmann, now a little drunk, agrees to tell the stories behind the three souvenirs

Act One (12.54-36.53)
Olympia (the first tale) - The conservatory in Spalanzani’s house
Spalanzalni has invited some friends to see his latest creation: the life like doll, Olympia. The adolescent Hoffmann sees Olympia from afar and tries to meet her. Spalanzalni announces that Olympia will dance for his guests, but first insists that Hoffmann wear some magic spectacles. Hoffmann immediately falls in love with Olympa and asks for her and in marriage. Spalanzalni is delighted with his deception. He agrees, and Hoffmann whirls Olympia into a dance, during which he loses the spectacles. The doll falls apart and Hoffmann realises he has been tricked.

Cheri (37.14-1.02.20)

Act Two (1.02.31-1.32.04)
Antonia (the second tale) - The music room of Antonia’s home
Then years later, Hoffmann, in love with Antonia, is taking music lessons from her father. Behind her father’s back, Antonia flirts with Hoffmann, while dancing to his playing. When they are discovered, her father dismisses Hoffmann and warns Antonia that too much exertion will be fatal to her. Doctor Miracle suddenly appears. He promises to cure her and hypnotises her into believing that she is a great ballerina. Hoffmann returns and Antonia, enthralled by her vision, implores him to play so that she may dance again. Urged on by Doctor Miracle, Hoffmann reluctantly does so until, overcome, she dies in his arms.

Act Three (1.32.15-1.54.30)
Giulietta (the third tale) - Dapertutto’s salon
Hoffmann, now an older and more serious man, has turned to religion for comfort from his earlier disappointments. He finds himself in the salon of Dapertutto, who tries to lure him to the enjoyment of sensual pleasures but without success, until the arrival of the courtesan, Giulietta. Goaded by Dapertutto, she so seduces Hoffmann that he renounces his faith but realises, when his reflection disappears form the mirror, that he has lost his immortal soul. In his anguish he prays that he may be forgiven and as his reflection reappears, Giulietta and Dapertutto are drawn into the mirror and vanish.

Epilogue (1.54.42-2.04.59)
La Stella - The tavern outside the Opera House
Hoffmann, his stories told, is offered more drink by the sinister Counsellor Lindorf. La Stella emerges from the Opera House looking for Hoffmann and finds him in a drunken sleep, her note crushed on the ground. Sad and disappointed she is led away by Counsellor Lindorf. Hoffmann, roused from his stupor, realises that again he has been duped by the evil presence that has pursued him throughout his life.

Curtain call (2.05.10-2.06.44)