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Music Text

Libretto by Adelheid Wette after the tale by the Brothers Grimm, in the English translation by Norman Kelley (E)


Major roles: S,M,M(orT); minor roles: 2S,M,Bar; chorus (SA); ballet;

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
Hoftheater, Weimar
Company: Hoftheater Weimar


HANSEL Mezzo-Soprano
GRETEL, his sister Soprano
THE WITCH Mezzo-Soprano
GERTRUDE, mother of Hansel and Gretel Soprano
PETER, their father, a broom-maker Baritone

At a woodcutter's house on the edge of the forest, Hansel and Gretel play while their parents are out. Their mother returns and accidentally knocks over the milk jug that contains the last sustenance in the house. Furious, she sends both children out into the forest to look for strawberries. Their father comes home to find them missing, and warns his wife about the dangers of the witch in the forest. They set out in search of them. Meanwhile Hansel and Gretel have become lost, and go to sleep guarded by angels. In the morning they wake up to discover a house made of gingerbread in the vicinity. They soon come across the owner – the witch – who proceeds to turn Gretel into a servant and starts fattening Hansel for the oven. Just before she can place him there, the children turn the tables and shove her in instead. They free the other child-victims (who have become gingerbread-children) in time for their parents to arrive and lead them in a hymn of thanksgiving.


Comic, Dramatic


Literary, Magic/Mystery

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