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This deliciously dark interpretation of the well-loved fairy tale will be devoured by anyone with a wicked sense of fun and fantasy.
Richard Jones revels in the nightmarish aspects of the story. His classic production dwells on the themes of hunger, gluttony and cannibalism which lie beneath the story's surface. Deep in the depths of the forest Hansel and Gretel must use all their guile and trickery to avoid a horrific fate.
Featuring a beautiful dream sequence involving a banquet served by a fish, this spellbinding production will intrigue those who wish to delve into the dark and comic side of opera.
Co-production with Lyric Opera, Chicago.
Supported by the WNO Ildoes Owen Society.
Cast & Creative
The broom-maker’s house
Hansel complains that he is hungry. Gretel shows him some milk that a neighbour has given for the family’s supper. The children dance. Their mother returns and wants to know why they have got so little work done. The milk is accidentally spilt and she chases the children out into the woods to pick berries.
Their father returns home drunk. He brings out the food he has brought, then asks his wife where the children have gone. She tells him that she has sent them into the woods. He tells her that there is a witch in the forest and that the children are in danger. They go out into the woods to look for them.
The children pick berries. They hear a cuckoo singing and eat the berries until they are all gone. Hansel admits to Gretel that he has lost the way home. The children grow frightened.
The Sandman comes to bring them sleep, sprinkling sand in their eyes. The children say their evening prayer and, falling asleep, dream of angels watching over them.
The gingerbread house
The Dew Fairy comes to wake the children. They discover a gingerbread house and do not notice the Witch, who lures them both inside. She decides to fatten Hansel up for her own purposes and makes Gretel work for her, heating up the oven. Gretel manages to break the Witch’s spell and set Hansel free.
When the Witch asks her to look inside the oven to see if it’s hot enough, she pretends not to know what to do. When the Witch shows her, the children push her into the oven and slam the door. The Witch’s previous victims come back to life. The children’s parents find them both safe and all express gratitude for their salvation.