Matinees ACMI Presents

The Tales of Hoffmann

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“By far the most glowingly ambitious and swanky attempt ever made to recreate classical opera on the motion-picture screen…splendid”

The New York Times

A spellbinding fusion of music, ballet, drama, fantasy and romance adapted from the opera by Jacques Offenbach, The Tales of Hoffmann was written, directed and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger; the powerhouse creative team who three years earlier had brought the dazzling The Red Shoes (1948) to the silver screen.

Powell and Pressburger’s film dramatizes the three great romances in the life of the poet-hero, Hoffmann (Metropolitan Opera star Robert Rounseville): a wind-up performing doll, Olympia (The Red Shoes’ Moira Shearer), a Venetian courtesan, Giulietta (the stunning Ludmilla Tchérina) and a beautiful opera singer, Antonia (soprano Ann Ayars). Hoffmann loses each of the women he loves but poetically transmutes his loss into art.

Featuring choreography by Frederick Ashton – the founding father of British ballet – Tales of Hoffmann reunites world-class ballet dancers, cast members and production designers from The Red Shoes. Chief among these is Sir Robert Helpmann, who takes multiple roles as supernatural villains Lindorf, Coppelius, Dapertutto and Dr Miracle. Screens in a new digital restoration.