16 November 2016 at 9.22am | 6 Comments
‘I tried to really go back to how John staged it the first time’, says Revival Director Dan Dooner of John Schlesinger’s classic Royal Opera staging of Offenbach's opera Les Contes d’Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann).
‘Because John was a film director, he had a light touch,’ explains Movement Director Elenor Fazan. ‘He was concerned with the characters.’
Fazan worked alongside Schlesinger, the director of films Midnight Cowboy and Sunday Bloody Sunday, when he made his Royal Opera debut with Les Contes d’Hoffmann in 1980. Now more than 30 years on, The Royal Opera invited Fazan back to help to re-stage the production as part of the 2016/17 Season.
‘It's fantastic because she knows it like the back of her hand,’ says American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey. 'She has such an eye and such a history.’
‘Today she gave me the same note that she gave me in 1980’, admits Mark Allington, an actor who performed in the original run of Hoffmann. ‘She doesn’t miss a thing!’
Fazan reveals the dedication to detail that the director had, going to the lengths of giving each and every member of the Chorus a specific character and backstory to play. He also encouraged performers to consider the motivation behind each of their movements onstage.
‘Because the production is so gorgeous to look at, it is the perfect vehicle for cinema,’ suggests mezzo-soprano Christine Rice.
'Directing a production like this is such a huge job,’ agrees Lindsey, praising the work of Revival Director Dooner. 'He has really understood what Schlesinger intended.'
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