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Opera Workshop performs scenes from ‘Tales of Hoffmann’

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Maria Dombrowski

The Opera Workshop, a component of the D’Angelo Opera Theater at Mercyhurst University, celebrates L’Opera Comique of Paris with a performance of scenes from Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann on Dec. 8 and 11. Both performances begin at 8 p.m. in Walker Recital Hall (in the Hirt Academic Center at Mercyhurst).

Most of the operas premiered by L’Opera Comique were comedies performed in the original language, French, and including spoken dialogue – much like American musicals. Both The Tales of Hoffmann and Bizet’s Carmen, which the Opera Workshop will study and present next spring, have become part of grand opera repertoire.

In Offenbach’s fantasy opera, Hoffmann recounts the stories of the fascinating women who captured his heart – wind-up doll Olympia, conniving Giulietta and fragile Antonia. Hoffmann’s doomed pursuit of romance, foiled by sinister figures of darkness at every turn, ultimately leads him to a poet’s artistic salvation. Well-known pieces from the opera include "The Doll Song" and "The Barcarolle."

Brandon Alan Miller sings the role of Hoffmann, with Jennette Fournier as his Muse. Victoria McIlvain and Maria Dombrowski share the role of Olympia (the doll), with Sarah Krempaski as Giulietta (the courtesan) and Shelby Maberry appearing as Antonia.

The “devils” are sung by Luke Ballantyne, Jake Shearer and Nicholas Carver. Also in the cast are Patrick Phillip Becker, Christina Cacchione and members of the Mercyhurst community in the ensemble.

Louisa Jonason, assistant professor of voice and director of the opera program, stage directs, conducts the orchestra and designs the set and costumes.

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased online at or from the box office of the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.