“TALES OF HOFFMAN” FOLLOWED ME FROM ARIZONA TO SERBIA
Three weeks ago, a spanking white Hofmann (piano) arrived at my Belgrade home. A few days earlier, my two nephews, both pianists, and I traveled to Lazarevac, a town south of Belgrade, in search of a piano for me (see THREE PIANO MUSKETEERS’ HUNT FOR A WHITE MUSIC ANGE…, July 7 and INAUGURAL BELGRADE “SOIRÉE MUSIQUE”, July 10).
I did not tell anyone at the time, but there was another spiritual reason I chose the white music angel. It was its brand name – HOFFMAN. I felt my spirit guides were had already picked it before I left Arizona. For reasons yet to be revealed. But I always obey them even if I don’t understand why at first.
How did they do it?
The day I left Arizona, July 2, I woke up with music from the Jacques Offenbach’s opéra fantastique – The Tales of Hoffmann – in my Third Ear. Specifically, the Barcarolle “Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour” – “Beautiful night, oh night of love” – which opens the third act.
It was my last musical act in Arizona. I sat down to play it by ear, and later printed the sheet music for it. I wanted the sheet music so I could play it in the original key.
When I was about 12 or 13, I played the piano score of this piece at a concert in a duet with a pal of mine who was a violinist. And I had forgotten all about it until July 2.
In the opera’s third act, Hoffmann is in love with the courtesan Giulietta and thinks she returns his affections (“Amis, l’amour tendre et rêveur” – “Friends, tender and dreamy love”). Giulietta is not in love with Hoffmann but only seducing him under the orders of Captain Dapertutto, who has promised to give her a diamond if she steals Hoffmann’s reflection from a mirror (“Scintille, diamant” – “Sparkle, diamond”)
And so with this as a preamble, here’s now my first recording of the Barcarolle on my white Hofmann. If I had my Clavinova here, I would have used harp and flute as lead instruments. Alas, this will have to wait till I get back to Arizona.
BARCAROLLE FROM “TALES OF HOFMANN” by Jacques Offenbach – piano score and film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – July 31, 2018
Here are some still shots from today’s recording.
And now, for a real musical dessert, check out this 2009 performance by Anna Netrebko (a Russian soprano) & Elīna Garanča (a Latvian mezzosoprano) of the same melody, accompanied by the Prague Philharmonia orchestra.
As some of you know, I had a rare privilege to hear Anna Nestrebko live in Vienna on May 31, 2018 when she performed at the VIENNA GRAND FINALE: SUMMER NIGHT CONCERT AT SCHÖNBRUNN PALACE.