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Opera of the week: Hansel and Gretel December 22, 2006

Posted by Jeff in German, Opera, Theater.
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Engelbert Humperdinck‘s Hansel and Gretel is probably not the opera I would choose to introduce young people to the art. (But what do I know? My first live opera, at the age of twelve, was Fidelio.)

This is a darker and more complex work than it’s given credit for. Humperdinck was Richard Wagner’s assistant, and the influence shows. (And whatever you may think, he certainly does not deserve to be remembered as this.)

Here, from 1952, is probably the best-known recording. Elisabeth Grummer as Hansel, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf as Gretel, Else Schurhoff as the Witch, Maria von Ilsovay and Josef Metternich as the parents and Anny Felbermayer as the Dew Fairy, conducted by Herbert von Karajan.

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/3519973/play]

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[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/3520033/play]

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[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/3520363/play]

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So what would I recommend to introduce young people to opera? Starting Sunday, two answers to that question follow over the next week-and-a-half.

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Comments»

1. Ruth - January 3, 2007

I’m curious to see your answer on which opera to introduce to young people.

But for those in the Las Cruces, New Mexico area, Dona Ana Lyric Opera is performing Hansel and Gretel on Feb 2 – 4, 2007 at the NMSU Music Center.

I’m no Maria von Ilsovay, but I’ll be singing the role of the mother.

2. Jeff - January 26, 2007

I’m curious to see your answer on which opera to introduce to young people.

Here’s an answer.


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