Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann - Kmentt, Silja, Wiener, Kunz, Schoffler, Stolze; Krips. Wien, 1966
Listen to a Sample:
Although Offenbach had no intention of having all three soprano roles in Les Contes d'Hoffmann sung by the same soprano, it hasn't stopped great sopranos from trying. Few are versatile enough to convincingly go from a coloratura to a lyric spinto to a dramatic soprano in one evening. Fortunately this performance features one of the most versatile sopranos in the history of opera: Anja Silja. Silja, who was already singing Wagner at this time, shows that she still possessed a voice of remarkable agility as Olympia offering spot-on high notes and coloratura. As Antonia she gets a chance to show the lyrical quality of her voice. Giulietta was perhaps the least ideal fit, requiring a little more of her middle voice than she was comfortable giving. Waldeman Kmentt is an excellent Hoffmann and the cast is peppered with legendary singers including Otto Wiener as the four villains, Gerhard Stolze as the servants, Paul Schöffler as Crespel, Grace Hoffman as Antonia's mother and Erich Kunz as Spalanzani. The sound is good.