Dutch National Opera presents

Les contes d’Hoffmann Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)


Duration 3:50

Breaks 2

By Jacques Offenbach

Language French

Surtitles Dutch and English

Les Contes d’Hoffmann is an ‘opéra fantastique’, in which the Romantic poet Hoffmann remembers the important women in his life in a drunken stupor. Reality and fantasy overlap in this masterpiece.

In short

Les Contes d’Hoffmann has been on Dutch National Opera’s wish list for a long time. The title role requires an exceptional tenor, who we have found in the person of John Osborn. This opera provides a rare opportunity to present several leading ladies in one production. One very popular part of Les Contes d’Hoffmann is ‘Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour’, the sensual duet sung by the ladies Nicklausse and Giulietta in a Venetian gondola. Many years after Offenbach’s death, new sections of the score were discovered, which provides the opportunity to make choices.


With regard to genre, Les Contes d’Hoffmann is an ‘opéra comique’, i.e. it contains spoken dialogue alongside mainly sung texts. Dutch National Opera is making its own version, based on the available material.

Team, Cast and Chorus

Musical director 
Carlo Rizzi
Stage director 
Tobias Kratzer
Sets and costumes 
Rainer Sellmaier
Klaus Bertisch
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Rehearsal director 
Ching-Lien Wu
Maartje Rammeloo
Nina Minasyan
Ermonela Jaho
Christine Rice
La Muse/Nicklausse 
Paula Murrihy
John Osborn
Lindorf/Coppelius/Le docteur Miracle/Le capitaine Dapertutto 
Erwin Schrott
Rodolphe Briand
Crespel/Maître Luther 
Paul Gay
Peter Schlémil 
François Lis
Sunnyboy Dladla
Mark Omvlee
Guillaume Antoine
Alexander de Jong - DNO talent


Carlo Rizzi is conducting the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. John Osborn (most recently Arnold Melcthal in Guillaume Tell and the title role in Benvenuto Cellini) is Hoffmann. Many people have looked forward to the DNO debut of Erwin Schrott, who is singing the ‘Four villains’. In DNO’s version of Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Stella, Olympia, Antonia and Giulietta are sung by four different sopranos.

Following his debut at the Münchner Akademietheater (Die sieben Todsünden, 2006), the young German director Tobias Kratzer has had an impressive career, with highlights like Rigoletto (Graz), Così fan tutte (Bayerische Staatsoper), Der Rosenkavalier and Tannhäuser (Bremen), Die Csárdásfurstin (Klagenfurt) and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Karlsruhe). In 2019, a new Tannhäuser will be produced in Bayreuth.


The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the leading orchestras in the world, is distinguished by the intensity of its concerts, its colourful sound and the daring way it approaches its audience. The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1918. The principal conductor is Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Recent DNO productions: Death in Venice, Faust, Benvenuto Cellini and Prince Igor. In 2018, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing Les contes d'Hoffmann.

Holland Festival production

    Mon 13 Feb Trouw about John Osborn in Benvenuto Cellini, 2015

    ‘Beautiful tone and phrasing, with no problem at all in the high notes and fantastic breath control’.

    Mon 13 Feb Place de l’Opéra about John Osborn in Guillaume Tell, 2013

    ‘It was even more beautiful, refined and impressive than his previous performances. His voice seems to have become fuller and richer, and he succeeds in climbing the vocal heights – his home – with even more ease and conviction’.