MET Opera on DVD - Hansel and Gretel - Christine Schafer




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Published on Sep 18, 2008

Christine Schäfer, Alice Coote and Vladimir Jurowski triumph in Humperdincks first and most successful opera filmed live at the Metropolitan Opera in Hi-Definition. This irresistibly delicious new English-language production of Humperdincks Hansel and Gretel is the first Metropolitan Opera : Live in High-Definition series release following EMI Classics recent collaboration with the Met. The Brothers Grimm fairy tale, a timeless childrens favourite, features a sophisticated score, and this intriguing new staging will appeal to audiences of all ages. Alice Coote and Christine Schäfer are charming as Hansel and Gretel. The role of the Witch, written for a mezzo-soprano, is sometimes sung by a tenor as is the case in this production - with Philip Langridge in the role. Vladimir Jurowski, one of the worlds most sought-after conductors, leads Germanys dearest opera, with a sensitive account of Humperdincks enchanting score. Hansel and Gretel is considered by many as the salvation of German opera, bringing relief from the murky Wagnerian depths of Teutonic myth and initiating a return to the shimmering world of the fairy tale. In 1923, Hansel and Gretel became the first complete opera to be broadcast on radio from Covent Garden ; Eight years later it was the first to be broadcast from the New York Met. It is significant therefore that this is one of the eight operas chosen to be in this seasons Met HD transmissions. Beautifully staged by Richard Jones and moodily designed by John Macfarlane, this dark and eccentric production is tough and dark, sparse and savage, an exploration of deprivation, cruelty and gluttony in a contemporary always-always-land. (Financial Times)


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