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Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, on 12th and 16th December 2008.
Note: This Blu-ray Disc (BD) is not compatible with standard DVD players
Diana Damrau and Angelika Kirchschlager star in the acclaimed 2008 production of Humperdinck’s famous fairytale opera, in the company of two of Britain’s most revered musical figures: Thomas Allen, playing the role of the Father, and the legendary conductor Colin Davis. Directors Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser combine their characteristic wit and a dash of deliciously dark comedy with the opera’s fairytale charm. Humperdinck’s music mixes catchy folk-like songs with sumptuous instrumental colour, making the result as tunefully approachable, musically memorable and visually delightful as opera gets. Filmed in High Definition and recorded in full Surround Sound.
‘Angelika Kirchschlager’s tousled, boyish Hänsel and Diana Damrau’s Gretel are dramatically convincing and vocally superb, while their parents, excellently sung and played by Elizabeth Connell and Thomas Allen, earn our sympathy as well as our censure. Pumeza Matshikiza’s goblin-like Sandman is truly magical and Anita Watson’s feather-dusting Dew Fairy another amusing creation. Colin Davis, unafraid to relish the icing on the cake, draws a warm, effulgent sound from the orchestra.’ Evening Standard
Illustrated synopsis & animated cast gallery.
Interview with Colin Davis.
PICTURE FORMAT: 1080i
LENGTH: 138 Mins
SOUND: 2.0 & 5.1 PCM
“Humperdinck's adorable opera here receives treatment so affectionate that the two children are more likely to be killed with kindness than by the Witch. The cast is strong, with Angelika Kirchschlager a much more credible boy than Diana Damrau is a girl... Thomas Allen is a superb Father, and Elizabeth Connell equally good as Mother.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2009 ***
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Live Recording from The Anhaltisches Theater Dessau 2007
Sabine Noack (Hänsel), Cornelia Marschall (Gretel), Alexandra Petersamer (Gertrud), Ludmil Kuntschew (Peter/Die Knusperhexe), Viktorija Kaminskaite (Sandmännchen/Taumännchen)
Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau & Kinderchor Des Anhaltischen Theater Dessau, Markus L. Frank (conductor) & Johannes Felsenstein (stage director)
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 fi rst 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 find them. The thoroughly happy ending introduces another significant variation to the familiar version of the brothers J. and W. Grimm.
Sound Format: PCM Stereo, dts-HD Master Audio 7.1
Picture Format: 16:9
Resolution: 1080i FULL HD
Blu-ray Disc: 25 GB (Single Layer)
Subtitle Languages: DE, GB, FR, IT, ES
Running Time: 98 mins
“Johannes Felsenstein's production of this favourite fairy-tale opera presents it with every sinister element removed. In Stefan Rieckhoff's sets and costumes, the children remain in a home setting… while their father, taken by Ludmil Kuntschew, plays the witch as an amiable, totally benevolent figure, not sinister at all, even joining them in the final joyful ensemble. When they sing that the witch is dead, you find that the production contradicts that completely. That said, it is a strong and capable performance, very well conducted and with a cast of good if not outstanding singers.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2009
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Jonas Kaufmann (Der Königssohn), Isabel Rey (Die Gänsemagd), Oliver Widmer (Der Spielmann), Liliana Nikiteanu (Die Hexe), Reinhard Mayr (Der Holzhacker), Boguslaw Bidzinski (Der Besenbinder), Tomasz Slawinski (Der Wirt), Miroslav Christoff (Der Schneider)
Chorus & Orchestra of the Opernhaus Zürich, Ingo Metzmacher
Tenor superstar Jonas Kaufmann leads the cast in the first-ever DVD release of the beautiful fairytale opera from the composer of Hänsel und Gretel.
The German tenor is “the fairytale prince of most opera-goers’ dreams – young, reckless, beautiful” (Financial Times), and Isabel Rey is the Goosegirl star in the acclaimed Zurich production of Humperdinck’s magical opera
Königskinder – a story of love tested beyond endurance – premiered at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1910. Humperdinck’s setting of the modern fairytale saw him further develop the musical language of his much-loved Hänsel und Gretel. Königskinder is enjoying a revival in popularity with productions planned in several major European houses
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