Is this the most insane piece ever written for soprano?

14 December 2018, 10:58 | Updated: 14 December 2018, 11:03

This aria performed by the ‘doll’ Olympia in Offenbach’s opera Les Contes d’Hoffmann is arguably the most difficult piece ever written for soprano.

Offenbach’s opera Les Contes d’Hoffmann is set in a world of the fantastic, the uncanny and the magical.

The plot is… well, it’s complex and you can read about it in detail here.

But, all you need to know is the storyteller Hoffmann is challenged to tell three great love stories – and one of them involves a doll called Olympia. Olympia is a wind-up doll and she only has the one aria during the opera, but WOW what an aria.

This formidable performance of ‘Les oiseaux dans la charmille’ is by soprano Kathleen Kim in The Metropolitan Opera’s production – at 1m50 she needs winding up again…

And if you want more virtuoso magic, try this performance of the Queen of the Night's aria from Mozart's The Magic Flute