Barlett Sher assina a nova encenação d'Os Contos de Hoffmann (Offenbach), que o Met apresenta a 3 de Dezembro próximo. A propósito desta nova encenação, o artigo que cito do The New York Times refere aspectos biográficos interessantes do autor da ópera, que reproduzo:
«Offenbach, in real life, faced humiliation despite his seemingly perfect assimilation in France. Nicknamed the Little Jew in Cologne, where he was born in 1819, and at the Conservatory in Paris, where he moved in 1833, he was scorned for his gaunt appearance and shabby clothes and ridiculed for his heavy accent throughout his lifetime.
Despite all these efforts and the huge popularity of his many operettas in France, Offenbach often had to prove his allegiance. James Harding, in his biography of the composer, points out that during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, French newspapers accused Offenbach of being a “Prussian at heart,” and German publications simultaneously mounted a campaign against him.
Hurt by the accusations, Offenbach contacted the French newspaper Le Figaro to defend his reputation. Though he had family and friends in Germany, he wrote, “I owe everything to France, and I would not think myself worthy of the name of Frenchman, which I have obtained through my work and my honorable standing, if I had made myself guilty of cowardice toward my first country.”
Offenbach was denied promotion to the next level in the Legion of Honor, and the personal attacks continued through the early 1870s. French detractors claimed that his opéras bouffes symbolized the frivolity that they believed had led to France’s defeat in the war. For a composer who longed to write weightier operas, this charge no doubt touched a sore nerve.