Met Live Opera: Hansel and Gretel


Film Info
Event Type:Met Live Opera Encore
Run Time:2 hours, 15 minutes
Met Company
Conductor:Vladimir Jurowski
Opera Company:Alice Coote
Christine Schäfer
Rosalind Plowright
Alan Held
Philip Langridge
Sasha Cooke
Lisette Oropesa
Production:Richard Jones
Set Designer:John Macfarlane
Lighting Designer:Jennifer Tipton
Choreographer:Linda Dobell


Engelbert Humperdinck
Hansel and Gretel

Special Holiday Encore Presentation
Original Live in HD Broadcast: December 24, 2007

CAST: Alice Coote, Christine Schäfer, Rosalind Plowright, Alan Held, Philip Langridge, Sasha Cooke, Lisette Oropesa

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.

Originally conceived as a small-scale vocal entertainment for children, Hansel and Gretel resonates 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.

In the broom-maker’s house. Hansel complains he is hungry. Gretel shows him some milk that a neighbor has given for the family’s supper. The children dance. Their mother returns and wants to know why they have got so little work done. She accidentally spills the milk and chases the children out into the woods to pick strawberries.

Their father, a broom-maker, returns home drunk. He brings out the food he has bought, then asks where the children have gone. The mother tells him that she has sent them into the woods. He tells her about the Witch who lives there, and that the children are in danger. They go out into the woods to look for them.

In the woods. Hansel picks strawberries. The children hear a cuckoo singing and eat the strawberries. Soon they have eaten every one. In the sudden silence of the wood, Hansel admits to Gretel that he has lost the way. The children grow frightened.

The Sandman comes to bring them sleep, sprinkling sand over their eyes. The children say their evening prayer. In a dream, they see 14 angels.

The gingerbread house. The Dew Fairy comes to waken the children. Gretel wakes Hansel, and they see the gingerbread house. They do not notice the Witch. The Witch decides to fatten Hansel up and puts a spell on him. The oven is hot. Gretel breaks the Witch’s spell and sets Hansel free. When the Witch asks her to look in the oven, she pretends she doesn’t know how to: the Witch must show her. When the Witch peers into the oven, the children shove her inside and shut the door. The oven explodes. The gingerbread children come back to life. The mother and father find the children, and all express gratitude for their salvation.

—Courtesy Welsh National Opera

Conductor: Vladimir Jurowski
Production: Richard Jones
Designer: John Macfarlane
Lighting Designer: Jennifer Tipton
Choreographer: Linda Dobell
Translation: David Pountney

Alice Coote
Gretel: Christine Schäfer
Gertrud: Rosalind Plowright
Peter: Alan Held
Witch: Philip Langridge
Sandman: Sasha Cooke
Dew Fairy: Lisette Oropesa