What's On

Hansel and Gretel

by Engelbert Humperdinck


Hansel_and_Gretel_RNCM

Magical and somewhat dark, Hansel and Gretel is possibly the most popular operatic fairytale of them all. Based on the Brothers Grimm story, we witness the brother and sister run away from a poor home where hunger is an ever-present threat, to the bountiful and idyllic world of the forest, with its possibilities but also its dangers…

This production will be performed in English.

SPECIAL UNDER 18s TICKET OFFER
If you are under 18, you can save 50% on your Hansel and Gretel tickets.

Anthony Kraus conductor
Stephen Medcalf director
Yannis Thavoris set and costume designer
Kevin Thraves chorus master
Jack Sheen assistant conductor
Bethan Rhys Wiliam choreographer

RNCM Opera Orchestra
RNCM Opera Chorus

Full cast information coming soon…

Magical and somewhat dark, Hansel and Gretel is possibly the most popular operatic fairytale of them all. Based on the Brothers Grimm story, we witness the brother and sister run away from a poor home where hunger is an ever-present threat, to the bountiful and idyllic world of the forest, with its possibilities but also its dangers…

While searching for food, the siblings encounter an amazing cast of supernatural characters and embark on a rollercoaster journey. Frightened that they have lost their way, they first run into the Sandman who sprinkles sand over their eyes to send them to sleep. The children say their prayers then in their dreams, 14 angels manifest to protect them. Later, the Dew Fairy surfaces to wake them and that is when they catch their first glimpse of the candy-coloured gingerbread house and the true villain of the piece, the Witch!

Hansel and Gretel certainly has dark elements but it also explores wider themes, juxtaposing good vs evil. It addresses faith and spirituality plus it’s a ‘coming of age’ story – a tale of transition, redemption and resolution. Humperdinck’s music magically evokes the contrasting worlds of the story and the sweeping but accessible score is much admired for its folk-inspired themes. Ultimately, what’s fascinating about this opera is that the music, like the children, seems to grow up during the course of the piece.

Hansel and Gretel was first performed on 23 December, and has been closely associated with Christmas ever since. Today, it is most often performed around the festive period, and the making of ‘Gingerbread Houses’ has become a seasonal tradition.

As well as assisting Wagner, Humperdinck also served as music tutor to his son, Siegfried. It’s a small world…

The main belt asteroid 9913 Humperdinck, discovered in 1977, was named after the composer.


ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK

Hansel and Gretel was written by German composer Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921), not to be confused with pop star ‘Gerry’ Dorsey, who took the composer’s name as his own in 1966 in order to revive a slumping career!

Humperdinck was a protégé of Richard Wagner, and was invited by the composer to assist him with preparations for the premiere of his Parsifal at Bayreuth in 1880. However, for most of his life, Humperdinck was best known as a teacher/lecturer, as Hansel and Gretel turned out to be his one and only (but pretty big!) hit