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Adelheid Wette

Librettist

Biography

German writer Adelheid Wette (1858–1916) was the librettist for her brother Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera Hänsel und Gretel (1893).

Wette grew up in Siegburg. She married the Cologne doctor Hermann Wette, who shared her interest in folktales, and had written two folktale-inspired librettos for the composer Arnold Mendelssohn. Wette and Humperdinck originally devised Hänsel und Gretel as a play with folksongs to be performed by Wette’s children. Later she successfully enlarged her text into a fully-fledged libretto.

Wette also collaborated with Humperdinck on the fairytale entertainment for children Die sieben Geisslein (The Seven Young Kids, 1895), which, like Hänsel und Gretel, was based on a story by the Brothers Grimm. Her other works include the children’s play Froschkönig (The Frog King, 1896) and a collection of songs, the Deutsches Kinderliederbuch (1903).