Hansel and Gretel (The Royal Opera)

( 2 )

Overview

Engelbert Humperdinck's 1893 opera Hänsel und Gretel receives an imaginative interpretation in this Royal Opera stage production from 2008, helmed for the stage by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier. It recounts, in musical form, the familiar tale of a young brother and sister who discover a candy house in the forest and nearly fall prey to a cannibalistic witch. This version stars two women as the leads, Angelika Kirchschlager as Hansel and Diana Damrau as Gretel, with Anja Silja as The Witch. Christian Fenouillat...
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DVD (Wide Screen / Stereo / DTS)
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Overview

Engelbert Humperdinck's 1893 opera Hänsel und Gretel receives an imaginative interpretation in this Royal Opera stage production from 2008, helmed for the stage by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier. It recounts, in musical form, the familiar tale of a young brother and sister who discover a candy house in the forest and nearly fall prey to a cannibalistic witch. This version stars two women as the leads, Angelika Kirchschlager as Hansel and Diana Damrau as Gretel, with Anja Silja as The Witch. Christian Fenouillat designed the sets, and The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House provides musical accompaniment, under the baton of Colin Davis.
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Special Features

Illustrated synopsis; Animated cast gallery; Interview with Colin Davis; Fairytales feature; Cinema trailer
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/28/2009
  • UPC: 809478010111
  • Original Release: 2008
  • Source: Bbc / Opus Arte
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Stereo / DTS
  • Sound: stereo, DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound
  • Language: Deutsche
  • Time: 2:18:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 79,713

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Angelika Kirschlager Hansel
Diana Damrau Gretel
Elizabeth Connell Gertrud
Thomas Allen Peter
Anja Silja Witch
Pumeza Matshikiza Sandman
Anita Watson Dew Fairy
Sir Colin Davis Conductor
Technical Credits
Sue Judd Director
Agostino Cavalca Costumes/Costume Designer
Simon Toyne Musical Direction/Supervision
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Hansel and Gretel
1. Vorspiel (Overture) [8:29]
2. Suse, Liebe Suse [5:57]
3. Brüderchen, Komm Tanz Mit Mir [3:53]
4. Holla!... Himmel, die Mutter! [4:02]
5. Rallalala, Rallalala [6:34]
6. Wo Bleiben die Kinder? [2:25]
7. Mein! Sag Doch, Was Soll Denn der Besen? [3:14]
8. Der Hexenritt (The Witch's Ride) [4:22]
9. Ein Männlein Steht Im Walde [7:02]
10. Gretel, Ich Weiß Den Weg Nicht Mir! [4:18]
11. Der Kleine Sandmann Bin Ich, St! [2:22]
12. Abends Will Ich Schlafen Gehn [2:34]
13. Pantomime [5:53]
Disc #2 -- Hansel and Gretel
1. Vorspiel (Overture) [3:10]
2. Der Kleine Taumann Heiß Ich [2:05]
3. Wo Bin Ich? [5:53]
4. Bleib Stehn! [4:12]
5. Knusper Knusper Knäuschen [3:21]
6. Ich Bin Rosina Leckermaul [4:13]
7. halt! Hokuspokus, Hexenschuss! [4:57]
8. Der Teig Ist gar, Wir Können Voran Machen [3:01]
9. Auf! Wach Auf, Mein Jüngelchen [3:21]
10. Kopf Vorgebeugt, 'S Ist Kinderleicht! - Knusperwalzer [3:04]
11. Erlöst, Befreit, Für Alle Zeit! [3:39]
12. Juch... El, Da Sind Sie Ja! [2:18]
13. End Credits [5:01]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Hansel and Gretel
   Play Acts 1 & 2
   Chapters
   Extras
      Synopsis
      Animated Cast Gallery
      Colin Davis
      Fairytales Feature
      Cinema Trailer
   Set-Up
      Audio
         Stereo
         DTS Surround
      Subtitles
         English
         Français
         Deutsch
         Español
         Italiano
         Subtitles: None
Disc #2 -- Hansel and Gretel
   Play Act 3
   Chapters
   Set-Up
      Audio
         Stereo
         DTS Surround
      Subtitles
         English
         Français
         Deutsch
         Español
         Italiano
         Subtitles: None
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Excellent, if creepy production. Damrau's shines.

    Everyone knows this story. Two poor hungry children are sent out into the woods to pick berries and find themselves captured by a witch whose house is made of gingerbread and sweets. She wants to eat them. Depending on the version you've read, either the witch gets her way, or she gets cooked in her own oven. This Humperdinck opera follows the latter interpretation, and in some ways that seems a shame, because it's hard to take the creepiness of the witch as seriously when she's so flatly dumb about what's happening. You can't help but wonder how this witch found a child she COULD trick? Enough about the plot.

    This is, honestly, a great production. The score is moving and beautiful, and it is masterfully performed here. The audio clearly benefits from the Blu-ray format. All of the performers did admirable jobs singing their parts, but standing out above and beyond all others were Diana Damrau (as Gretel) and Thomas Allen (as Father). Allen's performance is boomy and believable as the carefree, drunken Father who comes home to find his children sent out by the rather spiteful Mother into the (apparently dangerous) woods. You can't help but wonder why Mother and Father had never discussed the fact that a witch who eats children lives in the woods outside their house...you'd think that would have come up at some point.

    Anyway, Damrau's performance of Gretel is inspiring. You can't exactly say she "stole the show" as it is pretty much the lead role, but her beautiful voice and the whimsical sparkling in her eye really put Hansel's character firmly out of your mind when she's singing. You almost forget its in German and you're reading everything!

    When the witch finally shows up, she is wearing a sweater with the top and bottom buttons fastened, and the rest of them undone, completely exposing her strangely-painted breasts in a very strange (and apparently pointless) way. I guess when witches are wandering around in the woods, they like to feel at one with nature. Without getting cold shoulders.

    When the scene shifts into her gingerbread house, she trades in the exposed nipples for a walker. Yes, a walker. The little metal frames with two wheels that old people use to get around more easily. This is just one of a bizarre string of production decisions that were taken to bring a modern-day mentality to a very old story. Other examples include the occasional "all stars" t-shirt, or plastic bag from a grocery store. Sometimes these choices were funny and clever. The walker was just there to be weird.

    I should probably say something about the picture quality, as this is a Blu-ray release. In a word: Fantastic. The cameras are not afraid to get close to the performers, and with so many wonderful expressions coming from Damrau throughout the performance, this is most definitely a good thing. You can really connect with the childrens' playful spirits and get lost in their play. The set design is somewhat unique, although I can't really say that there seemed to be any reason for the uniqueness. Why make the walls in the bedroom crooked? Not for children, even aside from the exposed boobs. There are some really dark moments at the end that are perfectly valid story elements, but still not something I would want my kids to see portrayed so graphically.

    In short: Worth it for Diana Damrau's performance, the Blu-ray visuals, and the score.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews