It would be hard to find an opera in any area of the repertory that presents so many textual problems as Les conies d'Holfmann, largely stemming from the fact that the composer died four months before the premiere early in 1881, leaving the score incomplete. The traditional text, bringing in extra material, much of it unauthentic, and leaving out a lot, was only established this century. Arthur Hammond with the Carl Rosa Company was a pioneer in attempting to sort out a more acceptable text, and his work formed the basis of the English National Opera production at the Coliseum and also the Richard Bonynge recording for Decca. Since then the discovery of no less than 1,250 autograph pages allowed Fritz Oeser to produce his monumental edition, as used extensively in the Cambreling recording for EMI (12/88 —nla)…
Guitarist Wolf Hoffmann, formerly of the underrated German heavy metal band Accept, focused his love of classical music into a fascinating instrumental solo album, Classical. Yngwie Malmsteen is probably the only other metal guitarist who has tackled classical music in a serious way. A marriage of metal and classical, Classical includes interpretations of famous compositions by Georges Bizet, Edvard Grieg, Peter Tchaikovsky, Bedrich Smetana, Maurice Ravel, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Edward Elgar. Hoffmann plays all the guitars and he's joined by a handful of guests like Damn Yankees and Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Michael Cartellone, Giant and country music session bass guitarist Mike Brignardello, keyboardist Al Kooper, and bass guitarist Peter Baltes, a former Accept bandmate. In the liner notes, Hoffmann explains that he gives his versions a twist on the originals. Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is transformed into flowing hard rock. Bizet's "Habanera" (from "Carmen") effectively weaves classical guitar and meaty electric guitar lines.
Domingo, Sutherland, Bacquier and Tourangeau star in this lively and very French recording of "Hoffmann". Richard Bonynge, the conductor, follows what he considered at the time to be the most "Offenbach-ish" version of the opera, one in which a little new music is added, other music is cleaned up, other music left alone and the recitatives cut out all together. The cast is entirely French except for Domingo and Sutherland, so it is a delightful experience to hear Frenchies speak French in true Opera-Comique style.
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