Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Humperdinck - Hansel und Gretel|
Actors: Iris Vermillon, Antigone Papoulkas, Anna Gabler, Hans-Joachim Ketelsen, Michael Hofstetter
Director: Katharina Thalbach
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Innovative, Yet Respectful Production
David L. Reynolds | LA, CA USA | 06/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This new DVD gives us a real directorial find in Katharina Thalbach. She has approached this very familiar and beloved opera with fresh insights, giving us a combination of childhood nightmares and adult reflections on them. She doesn't reset the opera or update it. The children act like the little brats they are and learn to fend for themselves in a very scary world. The Witch begins by trying to seduce the children (particularly the pubescent Hansel) and soon reveals herself to look like something out of Roald Dahl's "The Witches" - bald, self-important, dangerous. Iris Vermilion does a great job with a role that is usually overplayed. She is comical and repulsive all at once. The parents are excellent in their rather stylized make-up. Irmgard Vilsmaier should have a bigger career than she does now, singing with the type of steadiness and security so often missing in today's Wagnerian productions. The children sing well if not memorably (Gretel is strained on top and doesn't have the top D - it's optional anyway). Those who want more traditional fare should stick with the Met's beautiful 1982 production (OOP right now) or Everding's lovely studio version (DG). But Thalbach's version deserves to be heard and discussed. It is never outrageous and always thought-provoking."
This one beats all!!! Great fun!!!
P. Sutherland | Berea, Ohio, USA | 09/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this production! Hansel, Antigone Papoulkas who gets five stars herself, and Gretel, Anna Gabler, were wonderfully bratty and childlike in their appearance, behavior and mannerisms, unlike the sappy performances in other productions, e.g., with Edita Gruberova or Fredericka Von Strade. The parents, played to perfection by Hans-Joachim Ketelsen and Irmgard Vilsmaier, were great singers. The witch, Iris Vermillion, appeared as a beautiful vamp who soon pulled off her red wig and put on creepy gloves to transform her hands, covered her skin-tight red gown with a frumpy dress complete with built-in hunchback, and donned coke bottle eyeglasses to show her blindness, etc. Bald and creepy! Great acting, great singing by everyone.
The lighting effects, staging, choreography and direction made this a first class, entertaining opera. The music, conducted by Michael Hofstetter, was perfect from start to finish. Also appealling were the frequent audience shots of cute little toddlers paying rapt attention.
I've seen a few versions of this opera and this is the only one I'd recommend or watch more than once."
David Cellitti | Las Vegas, NV USA | 05/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the past decade or so there has been a tendency to sweep away the fairy tale trappings of this story and redress it in modern terms. In the past few decades we've seen Hansel and Gretel as everything from first generation immigrants lost in New York's Central Park to tykes lost in a house of walking trees and captured by a tenor who runs an industrial kitchen. While I'm all for fresh looks at classic works the risk of doing so with a fairy tale like this is that the sets and costumes get so far afield from its origins that I can't help but wonder if the children in the audience have any idea as to what is going on.
What makes this production so refreshing and wonderful is that it is a happy blend of the contemporary and the traditional. While the standard scenic representations are gone, what remains are images that convey the feeling that the originals did. Hansel and Gretel don't find a gingerbread house but find themselves in a candyland just as tempting. This is one of my favorite operas and I would have to say this is now my favorite version of it. Beautifully sung, perfectly directed and the transfer and sound are gorgeous!"