Set during the interval of a performance of Don Giovanni, the writer and poet Hoffmann entertains a group of students and drinkers in Luther's Tavern by telling them of his three greatest past loves. He is guided through his memories by his Muse, disguised as his friend Nicklausse.
In Hoffman's stories, three different women are presented, each with their own strengths and flaws, and each with their own tragic tale. Each of the women represents just one aspect of Hoffman's perfect woman; the leading lady in the opera that night, Stella.
Hoffman relives his tragic love stories, and his most vulnerable moments, eventually returning to the present, where he is deep in sorrow, lacking the will to do anything but sleep.
Les contes d'Hoffmann guide sections