Barcarolle (Belle nuit), from The Tales of Hoffman (violin viola duo)


Title: Barcarolle (Belle nuit), from the opera The Tales of Hoffman

Composer: Jacques Offenbach, arr. David Gable

Instrumentation: Violin and Viola

Printout: 2 pages

Note: At the beginning of Act III of The Tales of Hoffman, Hoffman’s companion, Nicklausse (who is actually his poetic muse in disguise – it’s complicated), sings this voluptuous duet with Giulietta, the Venetian courtesan with whom Hoffman has fallen tragically in love. (For the record, Hoffman falls in “love” at the drop of a hat. Or pretty much any other garment.) Sarcasm aside, Belle nuit is a gorgeous tune, immediately recognizable by even the most casual listener. It is unquestionably one of Offenbach’s finest compositions. In this arrangement, the melodic line goes to the viola, while the violin substitutes for the harp.


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