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Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel (German: Hänsel und Gretel) is an opera by 19th century German composer, Engelbert Humperdinck, who described it as a Märchenoper or fairy-tale opera based on the Grimm brothers’ story by the same title.
The familiar tale begins in the broom-maker’s house, where the children are sent by their mother into the forest in search of strawberries and lose their way until they find a gingerbread house and encounter a witch, who they shove into an oven intended for them. Mother and father find the children.
In the Met’s darkly comic production designed with colorful, food-themed sets, the dark forest where the children become lost is a mysterious banquet hall and they are attended to by 14 strange chefs in the end rather than angels.
Humperdinck’s opera is much admired for its folk music-inspired themes, one of the most famous being "Abendsegen" ("Evening Benediction") from Act 2. This well-known work has been associated with Christmas since its earliest performances and today it is still most often performed at Christmas time.
In English-speaking countries Hansel and Gretel is usually presented in English. Since 2007, the Met has performed the work as it was originally created for the Welsh National Opera using David Pountney’s translation. Previously, it was produced in a translation by Norman Kelley written for the Metropolitan Opera’s 1967 production.
Hansel and Gretel received its world premiere at the Hoftheater in Weimar on December 23, 1893, conducted by Richard Strauss. It was first seen in New York on October 8,1895. Most recently, the opera was staged during the Met’s 2017–18 season.
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