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The Tales of Hoffmann

The Tales of Hoffmann (Les contes d'Hoffmann) is an opéra fantastique by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was written by Jules Barbier based on three short stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann, who is the opera's protagonist. It was Offenbach's final work; he died in October 1880, four months before the premiere at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. This illustration, probably by Pierre-Auguste Lamy, shows the third act, set in Venice, as illustrated for the first production of the opera in 1881. This act was in fact omitted from the premiere performance itself, the orchestration being incomplete at the time of the composer's death.

Illustration credit: Pierre-Auguste Lamy (attributed); restored by Adam Cuerden

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