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Engelbert Humperdinck - Hansel and Gretel [The Metropolitan Opera HD Live 2007] [DVD] [2008]


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Product details

  • Actors: Alice Coote, Christine Schäfer, Philip Langridge, Rosalind Plowright, Vladimir Jurowski
  • Directors: Richard Jones
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: PLG UK Classics
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Sep 2008
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001D6OKV0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,401 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

This new English language production of Humperdinck's first opera, based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, features Alice Coote and Christine Schafer in the title roles with Philip Langridge taking on the part of the Witch. This production was staged by Richard Jones and designed by John Macfarlane. The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By lullaboo on 15 Jan 2009
Format: DVD
Sensational production with Philip Langridge as the witch having the time of his life. Amazingly choreographed dream pantomime and the link with food (eating and being eaten) is powerfully and sinisterly expressed. The singing all round is beautiful but Alice Coote rather overdoes the gawkish Handel with a singular line in boyish facial expressions. Christine Schafer as Gretel is stunning and captures the magic of a sister that is not to be intimidated by an older brother. (The psychologist Bruno Bettleheim always claimed that young girls identified with Gretel because the girl in the story turns out to be the hero).

But what makes this beautifully well-sung production so incredible is the amount of food that has to be eaten (or partially eaten) while singing this demanding Wagnerian-like score. And not a gingerbread house in sight - just a huge cake on an equally huge tongue.

And so we come to two negatives: I was uncomfortable with all the (erotic?)smearing of strawberries on faces in the forest scene (the children are supposed to be starving) and I could have done without the Hitler moustache in chocolate during the kitchen scene. An awful lot of good food (and much is real) is gobbled, thrown and splattered in a kitchen that outdoes any pantomime slosh scene. (I admit to having switched channels from starvation in Gaza and the move from famine to feast may have been too much).

But this is theatre that is very much pre-credit crunch with no expense spared! An added bonus is `what goes on behind the scenes', glimpses of which are seen during the overture and the witch's ride: it beats looking endlessly at the oboist's fingers and the gestures of the conductor.

Indulge yourself. Buy it. Feast on it. It makes the recent Covent Garden production - although beautifully sung - thin gruel.

PS And it was good to see the gorgeous Rosalind Plowright as a very slim attractive mother.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. F. Richardson on 17 July 2009
Format: DVD
This is the Welsh National Opera's production of Hansel and gretel, staged by the Met in New York. I enjoyed it much more LIVE in Cardiff, but this recording is a reasonably good interpretation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Michael Rogers on 23 Jun 2010
Format: DVD
Having been blown away by a Met Opera direct screening at the cinema I was anxious to see how a DVD presentation of a Met Live production fared on my big Sony Bravia HD telly. The home product could not have the same impact as a cinema presentation in a full theatre but was one of the best TV/DVD experiences since the big telly came into the house.
Being a country resident in regional New South Wales with but rare opportunities to visit a proper Opera House, the Met's production of Hansel and Gretel is the first I have seen. Such a wonderful departure from reality with the over-sized sets making the 'children' appear child sized and the introduction of the amazing creatures in rubber skins had me intrigued - Sasha Cooke's Sandman had me imagining Edward Scissorhands.
I was delighted by the singing of the two children, Christine Schafer and Alice Coote - how could you possible expect real children to handle such difficult roles. Rosalind Plowright was a surprise - so young and slender looking for that great voice.
Then there was slightly build Philip Langridge in the rubber fat suit as The Witch. Unique, hilarious, brilliant.
Renee Fleming's talks backstage during the acts enhanced my enjoyment of the production.
Oh yes, Hansel and Gretel was well worth the money.
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Format: DVD
The opening is in a modernish kitchen, rather run down. The children, Christine Schafer and Alice Coote look 1950ish at a guess. Both have excellent voices and throw themselves into their characters with gusto.
When mother, the excellent Rosalind Plowright enters she does the frustrated parent with sad and desparate enthusiasm. She eventually kicks the babes out to forage.
Alan Held is an optimistic father, he is a crisp clear baritone, despite rebuffs he is clearly in love with his desparate wife. He reveals to her a bag of domestic goodies. She reveals to him she has sent the kiddies foraging in the haunted wood. Father is not pleased. This performance I found quite gripping.
Act 2. At this point the director and set designer have a brainstorm. The wood is a room with a large dining table, leafy wallpaper and trees with lounge suits, and berries in their pockets. Thank goodness for the excellent voices of Coote and Schaefer. The prosthetics worn by the sandman are very good as is Sasha Cooks voice.
In the entre-act Prosthetic headed cooks lay the table, a tribute to the technicians, but it does absolutely nothing for the story.
Act 3 enter the Dew Fairy, most excellent light soprano Lisette Oropesa, a sort of forest domestic cleaner, her part goes all too quickly for me.
The forest by the way is still the leafy room. The table has disappeared.
A cake eventually appears riding on a tongue, and then the wood transforms into a mouth, clever stuff, far better than a gingerbread cottage!
The mouth lifts and we are in the cottage interior, Phillip Langridge is the witch. He sings a pretty good role but the ensuing cooking lesson is more pantomime than opera. This scene is however one of the better parts of the presentation.
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By Edd on 2 May 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am afraid we did not like this production from The Met. We are used to more traditional versions as shown on German tv over the years(made in a studio for tv,not a live stage production).
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