Opera at USC to perform ‘The Tales of Hoffmann’

October 22, 2008

Opera at USC will stage The Tales of Hoffmann with its largest cast ever Friday, Nov. 7, and Sunday, Nov. 9, at the University of South Carolina’s Longstreet Theatre. 

Written by Jacques Offenbach and directed by Ellen Douglas Schlaefer, the opera will be performed in French with English supertitles. Dr. Lynn Kompass, assistant professor of voice at the university, is the musical director, and Neil Casey will conduct. Casey is the School of Music’s assistant orchestra conductor.  

Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 and 3 p.m. Nov. 9. Tickets are $18 for the public; $15 for senior citizens, faculty, staff and military personnel; and $5 for students and are available by calling 803-777-5800. Season tickets are available through Nov. 10 and cost $28 for the public and $20 for university faculty, staff and military personnel. 

The Tales of Hoffman, first performed in Paris in 1881, is based on several of the short stories by German author, composer and lawyer E.T.A. Hoffman. The opera unfolds in a Nuremberg tavern, where students arrive during the intermission of Don Giovanni. E.T.A. Hoffmann drunkenly recounts his great loves – Olympia, Antonia and Giulietta – and the strange manner in which each woman slipped from his grasp. 

‘The Tales of Hoffman’ is a challenging opera, said Schlaefer, director of Opera at USC. It provides the opportunity for our students to perform French repertoire, which we have not done for several years, and it offers interesting and varied roles. We have a large number of undergraduates, graduates and several singers from the Midlands who bring a nice mix to the show. 

Playing Hoffmann is Jaeyoon Kim, a recent graduate from the university’s doctoral program in vocal performance. Among Kim’s credits are Rodolfo in La Bohéme and Babylas in Monsieur Choufleuri. He is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and is music director of the First Korean Presbyterian Church of Charlotte. 

The cast also features Bradley Trammell as Spalanzani, Bryant Belin as Crespel, Michael LaRoche as Coppelius, Jan Malcher as Dr. Miracle, Melanie Frye and Lindsay Hilliard as Olympia, Whitney Vance as Antonia and Becky Krynski as Giulletta. 

For more information on The Tales of Hoffman and Opera at USC, contact Ellen Schlaefer at [email protected]. Visit the Web site: www.music.sc.edu/ea/Opera/index.html.