Hansel and Gretel is a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, in which the children of a poor wood cutter are lost in the forest, have a close encounter with a witch of the most unpleasant kind, and eventually make their way home again. The witches cottage which the children found so enticing was made of bread in the original story, but in more recent versions has become a classic gingerbread cottage.
An English version of the Hansel and Gretel story is called Babes in the Wood. This story is also performed as a British Pantomime.
Hansel und Gretel is an opera by Engelbert Humperdinck (Humperdinck himself described it as a fairy opera.) The libretto was written by Adelheit Wette (Humperdinck’s sister), based on Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel. It was first performed in Weimar on December 23, 1893.
The idea for the opera was proposed to Humperdinck by his sister, who approached him about writing music for a libretto that she had written for her children for Christmas based on “Hansel and Gretel.” Humperdinck decided to elaborate on the idea and make a full-scale opera production.
Hansel und Gretel is much admired for its folk music-inspired themes.
The opera is part of the standard operatic repertoire. There are a number of recordings of it, and it is regularly performed.
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