Hänsel und Gretel
Fri, 07. Jan 2022, 10:00
Fairytale play in three tableaus by Engelbert Humperdinck
Who isn’t familiar with the fairy tale of the children who lose themselves in the forest, only to discover the gingerbread house of a witch who wants to eat them, cannibal-style? In Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera version of the tale, the scene is set with the oppressive everyday reality of a family living on the breadline. The children of the poor broom-maker have spent the day playing and larking about rather than helping with the household chores, even accidentally wasting the only food that their mother can provide. She therefore sends Hänsel and Gretel out to pick berries in the forest.
There, the siblings not only come across good-natured creatures, such as the Sandman, but they also meet the Witch of Ilsenstein, who lures them into her cottage which is chock-full of tasty treats... Thanks to Humperdinck’s imaginative arrangement of innocent childlike melodies, his evocation of the magical romance of nature, his poetic musical score, and great symphonic swells, familiar to us from Richard Wagner’s music dramas, »Hänsel und Gretel« assured Wagner’s former colleague his breakthrough as an operatic composer. He turned the original »Nursery Dedicatory Festival Drama«, written by his sister Adelheid Wette, into a humorous tale which addresses the fears and fantasies of both adults and children with a great feeling for poetry, while its compositional depth ultimately outgrows the initial framework of a simple children’s opera.
approx. 2:15 h including one interval after act 2