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Using the edition by Michael Kaye and Christophe Keck of this flawed masterpiece gives this production an instant competitive edge in the market. Meanwhile, some strong vocalising gives it a fillip. Laurent Pelly’s production is neat and traditional and he elicits some strong performances. Stéphane Denève conducts an appropriately large-boned account of the score for the Liceu and helps the work to become a cohesive whole. Michael Spyres’ Hoffmann is very much in the lyric mode, and as I’ve found with him before, his strong middle register thins tonally as it ascends; but his singing is stylish, his French good, and his chubby innocence suits the role. Natalie Dessay is an affecting and stylish Antonia, Kathleen Kim a scintillating Olympia, but Tatiana Pavlovskaya’s cloudy soprano is strange casting as Giulietta. Laurent Naouri’s villains are better portrayed than sung, and Michèle Losier’s classy Nicklaus adds a dash of Gallic style.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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