Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Arguably Jacques Offenbach's best-known work, the opera Tales of Hoffmann took over ten years to complete. It was first performed in 1881 but never officially completed. After Offenbach's death, the manuscript underwent several modifications, disappeared, and then resurfaced on several occasions. Its long and complex history raises several fundamental questions about Offenbach's original intent, and how the work's content shifted over time. This 2004 documentary from director Gérard Caillat brings together a team of experts - including music publishers, opera directors, and others - who join forces to solve some of these enigmas. Caillat uses music from the opera throughout.