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Performer: James F. Ingalls

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New York CityLes Contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann)

Met Opera
Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann)
Daniele Rustioni; Bartlett Sher; Metropolitan Opera; Michael Yeargan; Catherine Zuber; Matthew Polenzani; Olga Kulchynska
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Philosophy amid movement in San Francisco Ballet’s Dance Innovations

Dores André and Benjamin Freemantle in McIntyre's The Big Hunger © Erik Tomasson
The ballet culminates with fouettés, bravura leaps from the oversized ensemble and a rousing finish with all 44 dancers onstage. It was an exuberant end to an intelligent, satisfying production, both of thought and movement.
****1
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Balanchine's Nutcracker returns in all its annual glory

Leta Biasucci (Sugar Plum Fairy) © Angela Sterling
Great story, colorful costumes and sets, dozens of performers all add up to the annual extravaganza of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Pacific Northwest Ballet's superb artists portray its wonders again.
*****
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At the Met, a revival of Orfeo ed Euridice

Hei-Kyung Hong (Euridice) and Jamie Barton (Orfeo) © Ken Howard | Met Opera
Jamie Barton's rich, mellifluous mezzo is ideal for singing Orfeo.
****1
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Echoes in the comfort zone: Only the Sound Remains in Madrid

Philippe Jaroussky, Davóne Tines and Nora Kimball-Mentzos © Javier del Real | Teatro Real
Kaija Saariaho's delightful but unchallenging fourth opera comes to Madrid with the same crew of the world première and Davone Tines, Philippe Jaroussky and Nora Kimball-Mentzos in the leading roles
***11
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Mark Morris / Silk Road ensemble: Layla and Majnun

Layla and Majnun © Susana Milman
The staging required that the dancers move through and around the musicians, and this intertwining gave the piece a coherent visual identity and a flowing energy. 
*****
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