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Hansel and Gretel

11–29 December 2018
Main Stage

A stunning new production of Humperdinck's exquisite opera is the perfect treat for Christmas.

When to see it

The Story

Hansel and Gretel's parents have fallen on hard times. One afternoon, the children decide to cheer themselves up by dancing. Their mother Gertrud is furious to discover them neglecting their work. She sends them out into the forest to find strawberries for supper, little realizing that it is a dangerous place after dark.

Hansel and Gretel get lost in the forest. A tiny Sandman lulls them to sleep. The next morning, the children wake after a night of wonderful dreams to find themselves near a house made of delicious cake. They can't resist a nibble… and the house's sinister owner emerges. What will she do to them?

Background

Humperdinck and his librettist and sister, Adelheid Wette, originally conceived Hansel and Gretel as a children's play with songs for their family to perform. It subsequently evolved into a full-scale opera. Hansel and Gretel's acclaimed premiere was on 23 December 1893 in Weimar, conducted by the composer Richard Strauss. The opera has been associated with Christmas ever since.

Antony McDonald's production pays tribute to the picture-book German landscape and to the enchanting fairytale narratives of the Brothers Grimm, while mindful of the story's darker aspects. Humperdinck's score combines irresistibly catchy folksongs with a lyrical overture and orchestral interludes that are marvels of rich, late-Romantic orchestration.

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