Hänsel und Gretel (Engelbert Humperdinck)


Opera in 3 acts
Live at the Anhaltinisches Theater, Dessau
A production of Monarda Arts/RM Arts in collaboration with Zoom Production


 

Hänsel und Gretel is a fairy-tale opera (Märchenspiel) by Engelbert Humperdinck to a libretto by his sister Adelheid Wette. The idea for the opera was proposed to Humperdinck by his sister, who approached him about writing music for songs that she had written for her children for Christmas based on Hänsel and Gretel. After several revisions, the musical sketches and the songs were turned into a full-scale opera. Hänsel und Gretel has been associated with Christmas since its earliest performances, and it is often performed at Christmas time. It is much admired for its folk music-inspired themes, one of the most famous being the prayer from act II. A family classic, it grew out of a set of incidental music and, written between 1890 and 1893. It was first performed on 23 December 1893 conducted by Richard Strauss in Weimar. How the story is told in the opera derives from the collection of Ludwig Bechstein. Gertrud, the desperate mother, sends her hungry children into the wood to pick strawberries, unaware of the danger to which she exposes them until Peter, the broombinder, returns and is shocked by what she has done; both anxious parents immediately set out to find them. The thoroughly happy ending introduces another significant variation to the familiar version of the brothers J. and W. Grimm

 

Available at Arthaus Musik (DVD and Blu ray)

Production

 

Producer: Torsten Bönnhoff, Erwin Stürzer
Executive Producer: Rainer Mockert
Directed for Screen by: Brooks Riley
Cameras: Sylvia Laubscher, Silvia Hoffmann, Neil Coffee, Michi Plötz, Christian Hartmann
Sound: Leonard Ruschin
Editor: Brooks Riley
Postproduction: Digital Images GmbH
Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian
Running Time: 98 min
Picture Format: 16:9
Year of production: 2008

 

Creative Team

 

Composer: Engelbert Humperdinck
Poetry: Adelheid Wette
Conductor: Markus L. Frank
Director: Johannes Felsenstein
Chorus Master: Dorislava Kuntscheva
Dramaturgy: Susanne Schulz
Stage and Costume Design: Stefan Rieckhoff
Light: Holger Schulze
Orchestra: Anhaltinische Philharmonie Dessau
Choir: Anhaltinisches Theater Dessau