Saturday, December 27, 2014

Hänsel und Gretel

Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Production: Laurent Pelly
The Witch (Rosina Loechermaul): Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke
The Sandman: Amy Freston
The Dew Fairy: Malin Christensson
Mother: Irmgard Vilsmaier
Father: Klaus Kuttler
Hänsel: Jennifer Holloway
Gretel: Adriana Kučerová

I'm watching Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel from Glyndebourne.  It is a work that lies deep in memory.

These are modern children who live in a cardboard box which is delivered to the stage door. The credits run while each actor is introduced with his turn at holding the box.  One throws it out the window.  Hansel and Gretel fight over it.

When the angels appear, they wait for the children to sleep.  Their angels are wonderful children of their own age, just as one would wish.  I am immensely grateful that it is done in German. One of the beauties of this opera is its wonderful libretto which is filled with made up beautiful and astounding words. You can't actually hear that when they shout into the wings "Wer da? [Who is there?]" that the answer is "Erda."

Once the love comes into your heart, it never completely leaves you.  One's childhood should be spent in the company of great music, for wherever you go or whatever life may bring you, it will never leave you. Ich sehe jetzt keine Lebkuchenkinder. When the cookie children all appear, they are wearing fat suits.

This guy is one ugly witch. There's no cookie witch at the end, which is disappointing. After all, they say, "Look how the Knusper witch has now herself turned into a cookie."

The treatment of the orchestra is quite wonderful, very romantic and beautiful.  This is fun.

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