(les Contes d'Hoffmann) opera fantastique in 3 acts, prologue, and epilogue, by Jacques Offenbach
The opera tells the story of the poet Hoffmann's three failed loves -- for the mechanical doll Olympia, for the courtesan Giulietta, and for the singer Antonia (where possible, all sung by the same soprano). The prologue introduces Hoffmann (tenor), and the opposing forces trying to guide him: his muse Nicklausse (mezzo), and his nemesis Dapertutto (baritone). The epilogue, set in the same bar, shows Nicklausse (momentarily) victorious, as Hoffmann renounces love to concentrate on his poetry.
Because Offenbach died before completing the opera, it is often performed in different variations, with the acts re-ordered, and with additional dialogue.