sábado, 26 de dezembro de 2009

O autêntico Hoffmann (?)

(Joseph Calleja e Kate Lindsey em Les Contes de Hoffmann - Met Opera House, 2009)

Retorno à nova produção de Os Contos de Hoffmann, estreada no Met esta temporada. Desta feita, a polémica (!) centra-se na autenticidade da versão em cena. Polémica relevante e interessante, esta!

«In a news release for the Met’s new production, Mr. Levine stated that in the absence of an “authentic, fully realized original version,” companies must make their own choices. The score he has assembled for the Met, though loosely based on the old Choudens version, uses “a great deal of the information that has come to light over the years,” Mr. Levine wrote.

“Balderdash,” Mr. Kaye responded in an open e-mail message sent to numerous music critics. He wrote that he greatly regretted that Met audiences were not hearing some of the most recently discovered original music. Further, he reported that a new edition of the opera that he had completed with Jean-Christophe Keck, with the latest sources and discoveries, was soon to be published.

I am no expert on the conflicting versions of “Hoffmann,” which present the work variously with different arias, dialogue, orchestrations and even story twists.

Still, it is hard to dispute Mr. Levine’s observation that there will never be a definitive score for the work. Offenbach lovers who object to the Met’s choices regarding editions have to understand the world in which the composer, a savvy man of the theater, operated.

Were he to rise from the dead and learn that the Met was eager to put on “Hoffmann,” Offenbach would probably never say, “Ah, at last, a chance to hear my opera as I intended it!”

He would almost surely pose a list of questions to Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, and Mr. Levine: “Great. So, who is the tenor in the title role? How big will the orchestra be? Should we spruce up the orchestration? Do you need other changes? Are you going to perform it in English? I would assume so. It makes sense for a New York audience.”

It is hard to imagine that Offenbach would have conceived of a definitive version of one of his works, even an opera that meant as much to him as “Hoffmann.” This was not the way things occurred in the professional opera world of his time.»

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