Opera & Film: The Tales of Hoffmann

United Kingdom | 1951 | 127 min. | Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

March 19, 2024

Opera & Film

A melancholy poet reflects on three women he loved and lost in the past: a mechanical performing doll, a Venetian courtesan, and the consumptive daughter of a celebrated composer.

Presented in partnership with Seattle Opera. Screening will be preceded by a short contextual lecture and followed by an audience discussion and Q&A. A quick preview from the facilitator:

Powell & Pressburger’s sumptuous film is the perfect marriage of opera and film. The filmmakers have deep love for Offenbach’s trio of tales in which a poet muses upon his encounters with three unique women but also expand upon the original opera with their own effervescent staging and fantastic visuals that elevate the opera onto the big screen.

SIFF year-round passes and vouchers are not valid for this screening.

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger create a phantasmagoric marriage of cinema and opera in this one-of-a-kind take on a classic story. In Jacques Offenbach’s fantasy opera The Tales of Hoffmann, a poet dreams of three women—a mechanical performing doll, a bejeweled siren, and the consumptive daughter of a famous composer—all of whom break his heart in different ways. Powell and Pressburger’s feverishly romantic adaptation is a feast of music, dance, and visual effects, and one of the most exhilarating opera films ever produced.

  • Director: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
  • Principal Cast: Moira Shearer, Robert Helpmann, Léonide Massine, Robert Rounseville, Pamela Brown, Ludmilla Tchérina, Ann Ayars
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Year: 1951
  • Running Time: 127 min.
  • Producer: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
  • Screenplay: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, Dennis Arundell
  • Cinematographers: Christopher Challis
  • Editors: Reginald Mills
  • Music: Jacques Offenbach
  • Filmography: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Canterbury Tale (1944), I Know Where I'm Going! (1945), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948)
  • Language: English