Live performance, Bayerische Staatsoper, 2011. The Tales of Hoffmann (French: LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN) is an opéra fantastique by Jacques Offenbach that combines three short stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann into a haunting whole: 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. One of the questions this opera poses for any director is how to link the 'tales' of Hoffmann's three lost loves together and knit them satisfactorily into the Prologue and Epilogue. In this production, Richard Jones solves the puzzle by turning it into an autobiographical journey which ends with a grand meet-up of all the characters Hoffmann has encountered: for once, Hoffmann is not presented as a rollicking kind of drunken story-spinner, but rather a sad-eyed, sobered-up depressive, who reaches for the bottle only because his disastrous love life has gone wrong yet again.