Met Live in HD: Hansel and Gretel
Live Broadcasts | 12/30/2017 | 2:00PM
Special Met English-language holiday presentation!
Run Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Sung in: English
A Met English-language holiday presentation, Richard Jones’s clever production of Humperdinck’s fairy-tale opera is based on the Brothers Grimm story. Donald Runnicles conducts the sweeping score and a delightful cast, including the legendary Dolora Zajick as the wayward siblings’ mother. Tara Erraught and Ingeborg Gillebo share the role of Hansel, and Lisette Oropesa and Maureen McKay share the role of Gretel.
Production a gift of the Gramma Fisher Foundation, Marshalltown, Iowa; and Karen and Kevin Kennedy. Additional funding from Dr. Coco Lazaroff, and Joan Taub Ades and Alan M. Ades
About the Met Live in HD
In December 2006, The Metropolitan Opera launched The Met Live in HD, a series of performance transmissions shown live in high definition in movie theaters around the world. The series expanded from an initial six transmissions to ten in the 2014-15 season and today reaches more than 2,000 venues in 70 countries across six continents. The Live in HD performances are later also shown on public television, and a number of them have been released on DVD. In partnership with the New York City Department of Education and the Metropolitan Opera Guild, the Met has developed a nationwide program for students to attend Live in HD transmissions for free in their schools. The Paramount began broadcasting during the in 2008-09 season and is pleased to continue to present this series for the community.
Premiere: Weimar, Court Theater, 1893. Originally conceived as a small-scale vocal entertainment for children, Hansel and Gretelresonates with both adults and children, and has become one of the most successful fairy-tale operas ever created. The composer, Engelbert Humperdinck, was a protégé of Richard Wagner, and the opera’s score is flavored with the sophisticated musical lessons he learned from his idol while maintaining a charm and a light touch that were entirely Humperdinck’s own. The opera acknowledges the darker features present in the Brothers Grimm version of the familiar folk tale, yet presents them within a frame of grace and humor.
The opera’s three acts move from Hansel and Gretel’s home to the dark forest to the Witch’s gingerbread house deep in the forest. Put another way, the drama moves from the real, through the obscure, and into the unreal and fantastical. In this production, which takes the idea of food as its dramatic focus, each act is set in a different kind of kitchen, informed by a different theatrical style: a D.H. Lawrence-inspired setting in the first, a German Expressionist one in the second, and a Theater of the Absurd mood in the third.
The score of Hansel and Gretel combines accessible charm with subtle sophistication. Like Wagner, Humperdinck assigns musical themes to certain ideas and then transforms the themes according to new developments in the drama. Unlike Wagner, however, Humperdinck uses separate songs (with real folk songs among them) within his scheme. The music, like the children, seems to grow up over the course of the evening.