Opera Review: Hansel and Gretel

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Music:Engelbert Humperdinck
Libretto:Adelheid Wette
Premiere:Weimar, December 23, 1893

The classic fairy tale tells of a poor broommaker who lives in a forest hut with his wife, Gertrude, and their children, Hänsel and Gretel. One day, irritated by her children's playfulness, Gertrude accidentally spills the family's only pitcher of milk and is forced to send Hänsel and Gretel into the woods to gather berries for dinner. When the broommaker returns home, he tells her with horror of an evil witch in the woods, who likes to bake children and eat them. By this time, Hänsel and Gretel have eaten all their berries, and as it grows dark, they fall asleep in the woods, protected by guardian angels. When they awake, they are captured by the evil witch, who binds them with a magic spell and prepares to cook them. But clever Gretel undoes the spell, and the two children trick the witch into the oven, where she is baked into a giant cake.

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