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The Tales of Hoffmann Les contes d'Hoffmann   By:

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[Transcriber's note: This file contains both the English and French versions of this edition of Les Contes d'Hoffman. Both the English and the French texts are known to have a significant number of errors, misprints, and inconsistencies. They are here presented without correction. In this text, the "[oe]" marking represents the oe ligature.]

NEW VERSION OF

Les Contes d'Hoffmann (THE TALES OF HOFFMAN)

OPERA IN FOUR ACTS

With an original and novel first Act and other important changes

Book by JULES BARBIER

MUSIC BY J. OFFENBACH

New English version by CHARLES ALFRED BYRNE

As performed, for the first time in America at the MANHATTAN OPERA HOUSE, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN.

ENGLISH VERSION, 1907, BY STEINWAY & SONS.

CHARLES E. BURDEN, PUBLISHER, STEINWAY HALL 107 109 EAST 14TH STREET NEW YORK.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

HOFFMANN COUNSELOR LINDORF COPPELIUS DAPERTUTTO DOCTOR MIRACLE SPALANZANI CRESPEL ANDRES COCHENILLE FRANTZ LUTHER NATHANAEL HERMANN STELLA GIULIETTA OLYMPIA ANTONIA NICKLAUSSE THE MUSE A GHOST

ARGUMENT

ACT I.

In the first act, which is really a prologue, Hoffmann, a young poet, enters the tavern of Luther to meet his companions, and drinks to drown his sorrows. They think he is in love, but he answers, all that is past, and tells the story of his three loves.

ACT II. OLYMPIA.

A physician's drawing room. Spalanzani has invited a large company to witness the accomplishments of his daughter, Olympia. She sings to general applause, and Hoffmann falls desperately in love with her. As the guests go to supper, Hoffmann tells her of his passion and thinks he finds a responsive echo in her. There is dancing, and she waltzes him off his feet. A Dr. Coppelius comes in to say he has been swindled by Spalanzani. He slips into Olympia's room, from which a noise of breaking is heard. Coppelius, out of revenge, has smashed Olympia. She was only an automaton. Hoffmann is astonished.

ACT III. GIULIETTA.

At Venice, in the house of Giulietta, beloved of Schlemil, who takes the arrival of Hoffmann very ungraciously. Hoffmann cares nothing for Giulietta, but she is bribed by Dapertutto to make Hoffmann love her, and she succeeds by making him believe, that he is her ideal. But as a proof of his love she wants Hoffmann to get the key of her room away from Schlemil. Hoffmann demands the key; Schlemil tells him to come and take it, and they fight. Schlemil is killed. Hoffmann takes the key and rushes to Giulietta's room, and finding nobody, comes back, only to see her riding off in her gondola, laughing at him, and with her arms around another man's neck. Hoffmann is disgusted.

ACT IV. ANTONIA.

Antonia has been told by her father, Crespel, to sing no more. When Hoffmann, who has long loved her, comes, he wonders why, but he soon learns by overhearing a conversation between Crespel and an evil person called Doctor Miracle that Antonia is afflicted with consumption. He then begs her also not to sing, and she promises him. When Hoffmann goes, Miracle comes in and tells her it is all nonsense, to sing as much as she likes; but she will not break her promise to Hoffmann. Miracle then causes the ghost of Antonia's mother to appear, and to her prayers the girl yields. Miracle urges her on and on, until she is utterly exhausted. She falls dying, and her father receives her last breath. Hoffmann is heartbroken.

EPILOGUE.

A return to the scene of the first act. Hoffmann has told his stories. His companions leave him. The Muse appears and tells him that she is the only mistress to follow, the only one who will remain true to him. His spirit flickers a moment with gratitude. Then his head sinks on the table, and he sleeps.

The Tales of Hoffmann

ACT I.

(The Tavern of Martin Luther. The interior of a German inn. Tables and benches.)

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