Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) tickets 27 December 2024 - Hansel and Gretel | GoComGo.com

Hansel and Gretel

Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Main Stage, London, Great Britain
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7:30 PM
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US$ 112

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: London, Great Britain
Starts at: 19:30
Intervals: 1
Duration: 2h 15min
Sung in: English
Titles in: English

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Cast
Performers
Mezzo-Soprano: Carole Wilson (The Witch)
Mezzo-Soprano: Catherine Carby (Gertrud)
Conductor: Giedrė Šlekytė
Soprano: Heidi Stober (Gretel)
Mezzo-Soprano: Kate Lindsey (Hansel)
Orchestra: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Chorus: Royal Opera Chorus
Baritone: Thomas Lehman (Peter)
Creators
Composer: Engelbert Humperdinck
Librettist: Adelheid Wette
Director: Antony McDonald
Author: Brothers Grimm
Opera Company: The Royal Opera
Overview

A delicious treat for all the family returns this Christmas.

The magic of the Grimm tales comes to life in this mischievous production. A fairy tale adventure for all.

Sent into the woods to look for strawberries, the hungry Hansel and Gretel are about to embark on a fantastic adventure. As they fall asleep, a fairy-tale world comes to life around them. But the mysterious forest is not always safe for children, and little do they know, something darkly delicious awaits them when they wake... They can’t believe their luck when they come across an edible house made of chocolate – but their host, a witch in disguise, has an insatiable appetite – for young children! Brother and sister must use all their cunning if they are to survive – and break the charm that has captured many children before them.

BACKGROUND
Kate Lindsey and Heidi Stober (making her debut with The Royal Opera) star as Hansel and Gretel in Engelbert Humperdinck’s enchanting opera. Drawing out the magic of the score is conductor Giedrė Šlekytė, who also makes her debut. Antony McDonald’s witty and imaginative production is the perfect treat for families and operatic newcomers alike. 

A GRIMM HISTORY 
Brothers Jacob Ludwig and Wilhelm Carl Grimm were distinguished academics and folklorists. Through their work, preserving and transcribing the oral tradition of folk tales, they preserved much precious material from being lost. Their first publication, in 1812, of Kind und Hausmärchen (Child and Household Tales), featured the story of Hansel and Gretel, and was such a success that they produced several more collections, inspiring similar story-gathering efforts across Europe.

CATCHY TUNES THROUGHOUT
Humperdinck's music combines the rustic charm of folksong with majestic orchestral scoring, with highlights including the 'Evening Prayer', the Witch's aria, and the Dew Fairy's song. The opera dates from a time in history when many composers were seeking an ‘authentically German’ form of opera. In Hansel and Gretel, Humperdinck uses real folk songs, and transforms them in a similar way to the ‘leitmotifs’ (or recurring musical fragments) to those found in Richard Wagner’s operas. Listen out for the catchy tune of the children’s dance, which returns later in the Witch’s ride. Humperdinck’s orchestration also transports us to the German forest of olden times, with prominent melodies played by the horns, recalling hunting traditions. 

TROUSER-ROLES: AN OPERATIC TRADITION
The role of Hansel is performed by a female singer with a mezzo-soprano voice. This is an operatic tradition that recalls the 17th-century origins of the art form, when castrati (castrated male performers) would sing high-pitched roles. As fashions changed, and castrati were no longer in favour, composers still wrote high-pitched male roles, and women stepped in, performing en travesti, or ‘trouser roles’, as they are sometimes called. 

AN OPERA FOR CHILDREN
Engelbert Humperdinck’s sister, Adelheid Wette, wrote the libretto to the opera, but it began life as an informal piece, for amateur performance at home. Initially, Adelheid asked her brother to set a number of songs for a Hansel and Gretel play that she had written for her children to perform in their living room. This was then expanded into a singspiel (a play with music), and finally, it was through-composed, resulting in the non-stop musical feast that audiences know and love today. 

CO-PRODUCTION WITH San Francisco Opera

History
Premiere of this production: 23 December 1893, Hoftheater in Weimar

Hansel and Gretel is an opera by nineteenth-century composer Engelbert Humperdinck, who described it as a Märchenoper (fairy-tale opera). The libretto was written by Humperdinck's sister, Adelheid Wette, based on the Grimm brothers' fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel". It is much admired for its folk music-inspired themes, one of the most famous being the "Abendsegen" ("Evening Benediction") from act 2.

Synopsis

Act 1

Scene 1: At home

Gretel stitches a stocking, and Hansel is making a broom. Gretel sings to herself as she works. Hänsel mocks her, singing to the same tune a song about how hungry he is. He wishes for mother to come home. Gretel tells him to be quiet and reminds him of what father always says: "When the need is greatest, God the Lord puts out His hand." Hansel complains that one cannot eat words, and Gretel cheers him up by telling him a secret: A neighbor has given mother a jug of milk, and tonight she will make a rice pudding for them to eat. Hansel, excited, tastes the cream on the top of the milk. Gretel scolds him and tells him he should get back to work. Hansel says that he does not want to work, he would rather dance. Gretel agrees, and they begin to dance around.

Scene 2

Mother enters, and she is furious when she finds that Hansel and Gretel have not been working. As she threatens to beat them with a stick, she knocks over the jug of milk. Mother sends Hansel and Gretel to the haunted Ilsenstein forest to look for strawberries. Alone, she expresses her sorrow that she is unable to feed her children, and asks God for help.

Scene 3

From far off, father sings about how hungry he is. He bursts into the house, roaring drunk, and kisses mother roughly. She pushes him away and scolds him for being drunk. He surprises her by taking from his pack a feast: Bacon, butter, flour, sausages, fourteen eggs, beans, onions, and a quarter pound of coffee. He explains to her that beyond the forest, it is almost time for a festival, and everyone is cleaning in preparation. He went from house to house and sold his brooms at the highest prices. As father and mother celebrate, he suddenly stops and asks where the children are. Mother changes the subject to the broken jug, and after she finishes telling him the story, he laughs, then asks again after the children. She tells him that they are in the Ilsenstein forest. Suddenly scared, father tells her that the forest is where the evil Gingerbread Witch (literally, "Nibbling Witch") dwells. She lures children with cakes and sweets, pushes them into her oven, where they turn to gingerbread, and then eats them. Father and mother rush to the forest to search for their children.

Act 2

Here there is a prelude which begins the act, called the "Witch-ride". Sometimes, the two acts are linked to each other, and the prelude is treated as an interlude.

Scene 1: In the forest. Sunset.

Gretel weaves a crown of flowers as she sings to herself. Hansel searches for strawberries. As Gretel finishes her crown, Hansel fills his basket. Gretel tries to put the crown on Hansel, but, saying that boys do not play with things like these, he puts it on her head instead. He tells her that she looks like the Queen of the Wood, and she says that if that's so, then he should give her a bouquet, too. He offers her the strawberries. They hear a cuckoo calling, and they begin to eat the strawberries. As the basket empties, they fight for the remaining strawberries, and finally, Hansel grabs the basket and dumps the leftovers in his mouth. Gretel scolds him and tells him that mother will be upset. She tries to look for more, but it is too dark for her to see. Hansel tries to find the way back, but he cannot. As the forest darkens, Hansel and Gretel become scared, and think they see something coming closer. Hansel calls out, "Who's there?" and a chorus of echoes calls back, "He's there!" Gretel calls, "Is someone there?" and the echoes reply, "There!" Hansel tries to comfort Gretel, but as a little man walks out of the forest, she screams.

Scene 2

The Sandman, who has just walked out of the forest, tells the children that he loves them dearly, and that he has come to put them to sleep. He puts grains of sand into their eyes, and as he leaves they can barely keep their eyes open. Gretel reminds Hansel to say their evening prayer, and after they pray, they fall asleep on the forest floor.

Scene 3

Traumpantomime. Fourteen angels come out and arrange themselves around the children to protect them as they sleep. They are presented with a gift. The forest is filled with light as the curtain falls.

Act 3

Scene 1: In the forest.

The Dew Fairy comes to wake the children. She sprinkles dew on them, sings of how wonderful it is to be alive in the morning with the beauty of the forest surrounding her, and leaves as the children stir. Gretel wakes first, and wakes the sleepy Hansel. They tell each other of their mutual dream, of angels protecting them as they slept.

Scene 2

Suddenly they notice behind them a glorious gingerbread house. The roof is slated with cakes, the windows are of licorice, and the walls are decorated with cookies. On the left side is an oven, on the right side is a cage, and around it is a fence of gingerbread children. Unable to resist temptation, they take a little bit of the house and nibble on it.

Scene 3

As the children nibble, a voice calls out, "Nibbling, nibbling, little mouse! Who's nibbling on my little house?" Hansel and Gretel decide that the voice must have been the wind, and they begin to eat the house. As Hansel breaks off another piece of the house, the voice again calls out, "Nibbling, nibbling, little mouse! Who's nibbling on my little house?" Hansel and Gretel ignore the voice, and continue eating. The witch comes out of the house and catches Hansel with a rope. As Hansel tries to escape, the witch explains that she is Rosine Leckermaul (literally, "Rosina Tastymuzzle"), and that she likes nothing better than to feed children sweets. Hansel and Gretel are suspicious of the witch, so Hansel frees himself from the rope and he and Gretel begin to run away.

The witch takes out her wand and calls out, "Stop!" Hansel and Gretel are frozen to the spot where they stand. Using the wand, the witch leads Hansel to the cage. The witch leaves him stiff and slow of movement. She tells Gretel to be reasonable, and then the witch goes inside to fetch raisins and almonds with which to fatten Hansel. Hansel whispers to Gretel to pretend to obey the witch. The witch returns, and waving her wand, says, "Hocus pocus, holderbush! Loosen, rigid muscles, hush!" Using the wand, the witch forces Gretel to dance, then tells her to go into the house and set the table. Hansel pretends to be asleep, and the witch, overcome with excitement, describes how she plans to cook and eat Gretel.

The witch wakes up Hansel and has him show her his finger. He puts out a bone instead, and she feels it instead. Disappointed that he is so thin, the witch calls for Gretel to bring out raisins and almonds. As the witch tries to feed Hansel, Gretel steals the wand from the witch's pocket. Waving it towards Hansel, Gretel whispers, "Hocus pocus, holderbush! Loosen rigid muscles, hush!" As the witch turns around and wonders at the noise, Hansel discovers that he can move freely again.

The witch tells Gretel to peek inside the oven to see if the gingerbread is done. Hansel softly calls out to her to be careful. Gretel pretends that she does not know what the witch means. The witch tells her to lift herself a little bit and bend her head forward. Gretel says that she is "a goose" and doesn't understand, then asks the witch to demonstrate. The witch, frustrated, opens the oven and leans forward. Hansel springs out of the cage, and he and Gretel shove the witch into the oven. They dance. The oven begins to crackle and the flames burn fiercely, and with a loud crash it explodes.

Scene 4

Around Hansel and Gretel, the gingerbread children have turned back into humans. They are asleep and unable to move, but they sing to Hansel and Gretel, asking to be touched. Hansel is afraid, but Gretel strokes one on the cheek, and he wakes up, but is still unable to move. Hansel and Gretel touch all the children, then Hansel takes the witch's wand and, waving it, calls out the magic words, freeing the children from the spell.

Scene 5

Father is heard in the distance, calling for Hansel and Gretel. He and mother enter and embrace Hansel and Gretel. Meanwhile, the gingerbread children pull out from the ruins of the oven the witch, who has turned into gingerbread. Father gathers Hansel, Gretel and the other children around and tells them to look at this miracle. He explains that this is heaven's punishment for evil deeds and reminds them, "When the need is greatest, God the Lord puts out His hand."

Venue Info

Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) - London
Location   Bow St, Covent Garden

The Royal Opera House (ROH) is an opera house and major performing arts venue in London and Great Britain. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.

The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theatre Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.

The current building is the third theatre on the site following disastrous fires in 1808 and 1856. The façade, foyer, and auditorium date from 1858, but almost every other element of the present complex dates from an extensive reconstruction in the 1990s. The main auditorium seats 2,256 people, making it the third largest in London, and consists of four tiers of boxes and balconies and the amphitheatre gallery. The proscenium is 12.20 m wide and 14.80 m high. The main auditorium is a Grade I listed building.

The Royal Opera, under the direction of Antonio Pappano, is one of the world’s leading opera companies. Based in the iconic Covent Garden theatre, it is renowned both for its outstanding performances of traditional opera and for commissioning new works by today’s leading opera composers, such as Harrison Birtwistle, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Thomas Adès.

The Royal Ballet is one of the world’s greatest ballet companies. Under the directorship of Kevin O’Hare, the Company unites tradition and innovation in world-class performances at our Covent Garden home.

The Company’s extensive repertory embraces 19th-century classics, the singular legacy of works by Founder Choreographer Frederick Ashton and Principal Choreographer Kenneth MacMillan and a compelling new canon by Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon.

The Orchestra performs in concerts of their own, including performances at the Royal Opera House with Antonio Pappano. They have also performed at venues worldwide including Symphony Hall (Birmingham), Cadogan Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus and on tour with The Royal Opera.

Members of the Orchestra play an active role in events across the Royal Opera House, including working with the Learning and Participation teams. The Orchestra accompanies performances that are streamed all over the world, including through cinema screenings and broadcasts. They appear on many CDs and DVDs including Pappano’s acclaimed studio recording of Tristan und Isolde with Plácido Domingo and Nina Stemme.

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House was founded in 1946 when the Royal Opera House reopened after World War II.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: London, Great Britain
Starts at: 19:30
Intervals: 1
Duration: 2h 15min
Sung in: English
Titles in: English
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