J A M E S   B O N A S

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The Tales of Hoffmann

English Touring Opera


Conductor: Philip Sunderland

Designer: Oliver Townsend

Lighting Designer: Mark Howland


Robert Workman and Richard Hubert Smith








***** The Daily Telegraph: “With this hugely enjoyable production of Offenbach’s problematic masterpiece, English Touring Opera hits the jackpot…an evening rich in musical and theatrical pleasure..the staging is full of surreal invention, responsive to all the ambiguities of the scenario and often very witty..this is ETO at its best.” Rupert Christiansen


***** The Arts Desk: “A phantasmagoria of cinematic references…it is a tribute to Bonas’ direction that all these influences come together so brilliantly and subversively; a multi-layered drama of identity and obsession disguised as terrific fun…insights and images just keep coming…this production is exuberant with its ideas, frequently magical to look at, and deeply rooted in both the imaginative world of the real Hoffmann and Offenbach’s glittering, endlessly inventive score..two and a half hours of ETO pretty close to the peak of its game.” Richard Bratby


**** The Stage “blending the comic and the sinister, Offenbach’s fantastical opera is imaginatively realised in ETO’s visually striking and strongly cast production…the doll Olympia in the first of Hoffmann’s disastrous love stories is as cleverly done as you will ever see it.”

George Hall


**** Seen and Heard International " James Bonas’ production of The Tales of Hoffmann for English Touring Opera reveals just how good Regietheater can be.” Sam Smith


Robert Thicknesse for The Critic’s Circle: "Bonas and his designers have done a great job of recreating the peculiar ethos of Hoffmann’s stories...the story of Antonia, an adaptation of Rath Krespel – about the fatal singer, full of the heaviness of its faded sadness; the strangeness, the dreamlike combination of inconsequentiality and desperate compulsion, the creeping panic of children lost in the dark – it’s all here.Bonas’s stagecraft is always solid, and as in his previous shows a strong visual imagination is joined with some really slick and funny theatrical moments”


Alexandra Coghlan in The Spectator "The steel-capped comedy of Offenbach’s final, phantasmagorical opera is a tricky ask, demanding both gleeful delight and a real sense of danger if it is to come off. Cutting this unwieldy score back to its absolute shortest (the show runs at under three hours), Bonas still manages to retain both, while a superb young cast brings all possible energy to this transgressive romp of a production.”