March 17, 2019
On March 17, 2019 Annalisa Stroppa will make her debut in the dual role of Nicklausse and the Muse in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Teatro San Carlo of Naples, in a production by Jean-Louis Grinda under the musical direction of Maestro Pinchas Steinberg. It will be the first of a series of four performances running through March 24, 2019. She will share the stage with John Osborn in the title role, Alex Esposito as the villains Lindorf, Coppélius, Dr. Miracle and Dapertutto, Maria Grazia Schiavo as Olympia, Nino Machaidze as Antonia, and Josè Maria Lo Monaco as Giulietta.
“I am elated to come back to perform at the Teatro San Carlo, a theater of unsurpassed beauty,” states the Italian mezzo-soprano. “I made my debut here in 2011 as Mercedes in Carmen and as Dorina in Cimarosa’s Il marito disperato at the Teatro di Corte, and now I am back with another prestigious debut.
The dual role of the Muse and Nicklausse is conceived as a key character within stage director Jean-Louis Grinda’s production: they are always side by side with Hoffmann and move the plot forward, making sure that all the machinery fits together perfectly. Nicklausse is none but the Muse disguising as a young student, Hoffmann’s best friend. He makes a pact with the devil so that Hoffmann may start writing again and devote himself to his Art without being distracted by earthly pleasures, but in order to achieve this he will have to undergo several trials which will cause him pain. Nicklausse guides him through and stands by him until Hoffmann, with his pain, will find solace in his Art, the only faithful and immortal Muse! Hoffmann’s love for the Muse is indeed pure, unconditional, eternal love: love for Art.
The Muse in the Prologue presents the situation with the words: “In this fatal hour, he must choose between our loves; he must decide whether he belongs to my rival (that is Stella, who symbolizes the three women), or if he shall be mine forever,” and his choice will be inevitable: through pain and the delusion caused by this three loves Olympia, Antonia and Giulietta, Hoffmann all take shelter in his Art, his only true, faithful and immortal Muse. And the lesson that the Muse concludes the opera with is wonderful: ‘Rekindle your genius from the embers of your heart! Smile serenely at your sorrows!’ And I can see a little bit the life of us artists in it… Faithful to music, our Muse, which repays of all the struggle and sacrifices!
I am surrounded by a cast of extraordinary colleagues, in a wonderful work climate and perfect harmony, the masterful conducting of Maestro Steinberg with whom I collaborated as Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel at the Teatro Regio in Turin in 2015, and with stage director Jean-Louis Grinda with whom I have had the pleasure to work several times.”
After the “Neapolitan” Tales, Annalisa Stroppa’s upcoming and future engagements include Suzuki in Madama Butterfly at the Bavarian State Opera Munich, Dorabella in Così fan tutte at the Teatro Peréz Galdós, Las Palmas, Zerlina in Don Giovanni at the Théâtre Antique Orange, Fenena in Nabucco at the Teatro Verdi Parma, and the title role in La Cenerentola at the Hamburg State Opera.
Information about Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Teatro San Carlo Naples:
Hoffmann: John Osborn : Lindorf, Coppélius, Dr. Miracle, Dapertutto: Alex Esposito; Nicklausse, The Muse: Annalisa Stroppa; Olympia; Antonia: Nino Machaidze: Antonia: Giulietta: Josè Maria Lo Monaco; Stella: Michela Antenucci; Andrès, Cochenille, Frantz, Pittichinaccio: Orlando Polidoro; Crespel: Roberto Abbondanza; Spalanzani: Enrico Cossutta; Hermann, Schlémil: Fabio Zagarella; Nathanaël: Pasquale Scircoli; Luther: Italo Proferisce; La mère d’Antonia: Federica Giansanti
Pinchas Steniberg, conductor; Jean-Louis Grinda, stage director
Performances: 17, 19, 22 and 24 March, 2019