I know very little about opera because it drives me insane – or vice versa – but this sounds pretty important:
- A handwritten, original score that may hold the key to Jacques Offenbach’s true intentions for his final and greatest opera, “The Tales of Hoffmann,” has been discovered in the Paris National Opera archives, the organization said Thursday.
The manuscript — once thought to have been destroyed in a fire — was found during a reorganization of the opera library. It provides essential and complete information on “Tales of Hoffmann” as it was first performed for the public in 1881.
Over the years, numerous versions and publications of the opera have been produced, each relying on new discoveries of handwritten fragments of the score.
The newly discovered score — which contains corrections written by the composer and others after his death — further helps fill in the blanks.
“Tales of Hoffmann” is the story of a young poet who regales his friends in a tavern with stories of his romantic misadventures. The characters change, but each tale features a woman just beyond his reach and a man who thwarts Hoffmann in his quest for true love.
It was already known that the opera’s famous Giulietta act was cut by the Opera-Comique director after dress rehearsal for the premiere. But the new manuscript reveals details of other cuts made during rehearsals that were previously unknown, and helps to explain why the “Tales of Hoffmann” was long considered a poorly constructed piece.
The Paris National Opera made a digital copy of the score before handing it over to the music department of the French National Library. The Opera will remain the owner of the manuscript and all rights attached to it, it said in a statement. [AP]
If everyone would just go and look through their files and attics and all that RIGHT NOW, then we could run all the stories like this at one time and be done with it.