Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Humperdinck Hansel und Gretel|
Actors: Humperdinck, Marschall, Noack, Kuntschew, Felsenstein
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Enjoyable production, but not really Humperdinck's opera
David L. Reynolds | LA, CA USA | 12/28/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Some productions of Hansel and Gretel cast one woman as the Mother and the Witch. This is the first one on DVD that casts a man as the Father and the Witch. This is not as radical a production as the Richard Jones' production seen last year at the Met, but if you're looking for a straightforward retelling of the story this one might mystify you. The director seems to be drawing a parallel between the horrid events of WWI (or some such war, it's never really specific) and the fantasies of two abused children who yearn to have parents that love them. I write "seems" because that concept is abandoned after Acts One and Two. In the third act, we're in a lovely home on Christmas morning with a large Christmas tree upstage center and a delicious, if small, gingerbread house down stage. The parents beam down at their children from a staircase. The father acts the role of the Witch (with only a kerchief around his head) as if they're all playing a big game. Who the children are that arrive after the Witch's "death" (Hansel, Gretel, and the Father throw a Witch doll in the fireplace) and why they are all in this family's living room is not explained. It's all quite charming and lovely and I'm glad I saw it; what it has to do with Humperdinck's opera is more questionable.
The singers are adequate and act very well, the orchestra and chorus very capable, the conductor rather more than that. I'd love to see a DVD of Gian Carlo Del Monaco's "Nur fur Erwachsene" (Just for Grown-ups) production. That would really cause some teeth-gnashing!
For those more traditionally inclined, the Everding/Solti DVD is excellent. The Met production with Blegen and Von Stade is now out-of-print, but that is a beautifully traditional production and would be my first choice if it were available."