LIVE RECORDING FROM THE ANHALTISCHES THEATER DESSAU 2007 with:
Peter LUDMIL KUNTSCHEW
Gertrud ALEXANDRA PETERSAMER
Hänsel SABINE NOACK
Gretel CORNELIA MARSCHALL
Die Knusperhexe LUDMIL KUNTSCHEW
Sandmännchen/Taumännnchen VIKTORIJA KAMINSKAITE
ANHALTISCHE PHILHARMONIE DESSAU
KINDERCHOR DES ANHALTISCHEN THEATER DESSAU
Conducted by Markus L. Frank
Directed by Johannes Felsenstein
Set Design and Costumes by Stefan Rieckhoff
Hänsel und Gretel is a fairy-tale opera (Märchenspiel) by Engelbert Humperdinck to a libretto by his sister Adelheid Wette. The idea for the opera was proposed to Humperdinck by his sister, who approached him about writing music for songs that she had written for her children for Christmas based on „Hänsel and Gretel.“ After several revisions, the musical sketches and the songs were turned into a full-scale opera.
Hänsel und Gretel has been associated with Christmas since its earliest performances, and it is often performed at Christmas time. It is much admired for its folk music-inspired themes, one of the most famous being the prayer from act II.
A family classic, it grew out of a set of incidental music and, written between 1890 and 1893, it was first performed on 23 December 1893 under Richard Strauss in Weimar. The form in which the story is used in the opera derives from the
collection of Ludwig Bechstein. Gertrud, the desperate mother, sends her hungry children into the wood to pick strawberries, unaware of the danger to which she exposes them until Peter, the broombinder, returns and is shocked at what she has
done; both anxious parents immediately set out to fi nd them. The thoroughly happy ending introduces another significant variation to the familiar version of the brothers J. and W. Grimm.
“Markus L. Frank and the Anhalt Philharmonic bring out the truly magical yearning in Humperdinck’s music so beautifully that this alone should be enough to draw audiences to the Anhalt Theatre.”
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