Humperdink's Hansel and Gretel

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Saturday, January 03, 2015

A scene from Act II of Humperdinck’s 'Hansel and Gretel.' A scene from Act II of Humperdinck’s 'Hansel and Gretel.' (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Join us Saturday at 1 pm for a live broadcast of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, sung in English and presented as part of the Met's holiday series.

Director Richard Jones tells Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel from a rather dark point of view, emphasizing the title character’s sordid home life, including abusive parents. But this remains a fairy-tale opera, with some delectable tunes and a happy ending. Jennifer Johnson Cano is Hansel, Heidi Stober is Gretel and Robert Brubaker plays the witch (taking over the usual mezzo role). Michaela Martens, who recently played Marilyn Klinghoffer in the Met's staging of The Death of Klinghoffer, is the mother Gertrude. Andrew Davis conducts.

Note: Jennifer Johnson Cano has replaced Christine Rice, who is ill. In addition, Mary Jo Heath is sitting in the host seat this week for Margaret Juntwait. She will be joined by commentator Ira Siff. 


Conductor: Sir Andrew Davis
Gretel: Heidi Stober
HanselJennifer Johnson Cano
Gertrude: Michaela Martens
The Witch: Robert Brubaker
Peter: Dwayne Croft

Comments [10]

Definite thumbs down, WQXR. Two spellings of a composer's name on the same web page is a bummer. DD~~

Jan. 04 2015 07:58 PM

Interesting "Hansel and Gretel" post, KBL. Plus the websites. Plus the roles you've sung. Plus the operas you've written. Plus the 4 three hour long {{can I buy a hyphen?}} solo concerts.

Hansel and Gretel.
Hansel and Gretel.


Jan. 04 2015 12:06 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

It's a joy to hear so well performed a Hansel and Gretel. 'Youngsters" of all ages may appreciate the tales of Hansel and Gretel, Prokofieff's Peter and the Wolf, Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, but they are also social and political commentaries. One of our current very active bloggers has a deep diisaffection with the heldentenor voice. To set the record straight, I have been singing and studying the entire Wagner heldentenor oeuvre with the leading Wagner conductors and singers, besides singing those roles and recordings unretouched testify to my singing voice's Wagnerian timbre, power, distance projection and stamina. Of my 4 three hour long solo concerts in the main hall of Carnegie Hall, two were ALL-WAGNER concerts. On my websites:, and 15 selections of the Wagner heldentenor roles from Rienzi to Parsifal, jncluding Lohengtrin, Siegmund, Siegfried, Gotterdammerung Siegfried, Tristan and Walther von Stolzing may be downloaded along with music critics of major newspaper and music magazines, free, at Recorded Selections. My favorite selections are Amfortas ! die Wunde !, siegmund heiss' ich and Schmiede mein Hammer. The recordings live, unretouched may be downloaded, free, at Recorded Selections on my websites. You be the judge. I also am an opera composer with two operas, each around three hours long, written for a single protagonist heldentenor representing the title role of Shakespeare, "Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare." They are expected to be obtainable in 2 years on my 6 websites in cart arrangements for paying for the showings downloads. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE !!!

Jan. 03 2015 06:11 PM

Close but no cigar, WXQR. You fixed the spelling in the link to the article, but not the headline on the article itself. Still, just under the words:


Humperdink's [sic] Hansel and Gretel

Saturday, January 03, 2015
The devil (or DD~~) is in the details.

Jan. 03 2015 05:46 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

I missed hearing Ms. Rice but Ms. Johnson-Cano, as were all the principals, I thought were excellent. The Orchestra, as always, is superb. Andrew Davis was very conscious of accelerandos and rallantandos --- speeding up and slowing down as directed by the composer --- that are many times ignored but weren't here. The children's chorus was excellent, but I was puzzled by an 8-bar cut resuming when Peter makes his entance in Act III. Negatives for me: the English translation rather than the original German; and replacing the 14 angels with chefs; and the mispronunciation of "Humperdinck" by the substitute announcer: it's "Hoomperdinck" not "Humperdinck" as in a humped-back whale; and the stage manager's announcement about the replacement for Ha"nsel stopped me in my tracks. Since "Ha"nsel" has an umlaut, it's "Henzl". Well, I wasn't around in 1931 when the Met broadcasts began with an almost complete performance of this opera with Deems Taylor commenting almost continually as the performance went on. That's one practice I'm glad was stopped. But mispronunciations were unheard of (unless accidental spoonerisms) in the days of Milton Cross and Peter Allen.

Jan. 03 2015 03:36 PM

The audience if full of kids who applaud hwen they like something. It's not as if they were applauding after the Rheinmaidens.

Jan. 03 2015 02:40 PM
Bernie from UWS

What is wrong with these audiences who have to clap over some of the most delicate moments in the music? They don't do that if you go to an orchestra concert - you don't hear applause over the end of Mahler 9 do you? Why is that considered okay here?

Jan. 03 2015 02:10 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

This opera is completely magical and evocative from the treasured Evening Prayer and Pantomime, along with such niceties as Peter's song of weariness the Witch's Ride ---which can either begin Act II or, in this production as in previous ones, continues right after Act I --- and the children's echo chorus and "Forest Murmurs" similarity of the Ilsenstein woods' darkness, to the final celebratory chorus. Here's looking forward to a combination of fresh and seasoned singers under the able direction of Lyric Opera of Chicago's Andrew Davis. Personally, I prefer the Witch to be female as the score directs: for one thing, her name is "Rosina Leckermaul" Rosina Dainty-Mouth" and Peter tells Gertrude about her flying about. That notwithstanding, my biggest regret --- as usual --- is that the Management goes out of its way to hire producers and designers who will put almost anything on stage in the name of novelty. Imagine your own Brothers Grimm-Wette-Humperdinck scenery and costumes, if you will, unless you're followign the score. All the same, here's looking forward to an afternoon of enchantment and wonder.

Jan. 03 2015 08:43 AM

Thumbs way up, Cavanaugh! And why all the emphasis on food and overeating? A travesty of a production; once again, I am grateful I can listen to the glorious music and remember the naturalistic productions of my youth. In this age of supertitles, one wonders why they chose to use English. IMHO, Vierzehn Engel is more musical than 14 angels.

Ah, well, enough complaining. Happy New Year to all and enjoy the opera!

Jan. 03 2015 08:02 AM

CBC Buon Capo d'anno a tutti e te. This opera has some of the most beautiful, transporting music ever written. I just don't like that they took most of the religious references out of the production. I also like it in the original language. But enjoy. You can't go wrong.

Jan. 02 2015 10:19 PM

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