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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious
My heart sank when I saw that the BBC had chosen this production for its Christmas Day dose of culture. I love the opera but this production had been indifferently reviewed and its directors, Patrice Caurier & Moshe Leiser, can produce cheap and nasty work.

Well they didn't break the bank in this production but, to my surprise it is very effective and...
Published on 3 Oct. 2009 by Leonardo

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2.0 out of 5 stars What's with the witch's breasts?
This production has a lot going for it - in particular, the music and singing are both top notch, and the father is superbly acted and sung. The mother is quite well acted too. It was completely spoilt for me though, by the fact that the witch, when she first appeared, had her breasts hanging out. This seems totally inappropriate to me in a children's opera, and doesn't...
Published 3 months ago by Dave Rado


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious, 3 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel [DVD] [2008] [2010] (DVD)
My heart sank when I saw that the BBC had chosen this production for its Christmas Day dose of culture. I love the opera but this production had been indifferently reviewed and its directors, Patrice Caurier & Moshe Leiser, can produce cheap and nasty work.

Well they didn't break the bank in this production but, to my surprise it is very effective and imaginative. It helps to have it in German and it helps to have two excellent interpreters of the title roles. Angelica Kirchschlager and Diana Damrau are convincing as brother and sister and look the part with the willowy Kirchschlager, in particular looking very boyish. The scene with the parents can be a bit anticlimactic but not in this production with veterans Thomas Allen and Elizabeth Connell giving a master class in how to act in opera. I particularly liked Allen's drunken wooing of his wife. Anja Silja as the witch makes the action more dark and frightening than in the recent production that I saw from the Met with Philip Langridge in the role. Having a woman rather than a pantomime dame in the part makes everything more serious.

This is an opera all about food and hunger, (the recent Glyndebourne production was set in a supermarket). Pat and Mo imaginatively restage the dream banquet as a Christmas scene with the parents handing Hansel and Gretel two large, shiny presents. They open the boxes and remove layer upon layer of wrapping until they arrive at half a sandwich each. Far from being disappointed, they are delighted with their gifts and eat them slowly and with relish. Pat and Mo's cheapskate tendency is seen amusingly in the scene with the gingerbread house. Instead of a full-size house the children find a cake in the shape of a doll's house. Not only does it save money but this scene actually works as the children devour the cake.

The final scene, in the witch's house is also very effective and, I imagine, quite frightening for its target audience, with children hanging in a larder and being brought out to be cast into a huge oven to be baked into gingerbread. Fortunately, it would require a very precocious seven year-old to go to the Royal Opera House to see an opera in German and the audience, which seemed to consist entirely of adults, enjoyed it immensely.
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2.0 out of 5 stars What's with the witch's breasts?, 12 Feb. 2015
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Dave Rado - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel [DVD] [2008] [2010] (DVD)
This production has a lot going for it - in particular, the music and singing are both top notch, and the father is superbly acted and sung. The mother is quite well acted too. It was completely spoilt for me though, by the fact that the witch, when she first appeared, had her breasts hanging out. This seems totally inappropriate to me in a children's opera, and doesn't add anything positive dramatically in my opinion - I guess it was meant to make her grotesque and therefore frightening but it just struck me as weird. And the director doesn't seem to know what she's doing when it comes to the period it's set in. They all wear Victorian or maybe Edwardian clothes, and yet the witch has a zimmer frame, her kitchen has all the mod cons of the 21st century, and in general the production just seems confused. The kids, especially Gretel, are not very well acted in my opinion - she tries so hard to act like a young girl, but overdoes it, is hammy - and just looks silly, especially as her face is definitely that of a middle-aged woman (and no attempt seems to have been made to remedy that with make-up, although she wears the clothes of a young Victorian girl). Overall I was disappointed in it, but if it hadn't been for those bare breasts I'd have given it three or possibly even four stars, as it is so good musically, and some of the acting is excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful performace, 11 Jun. 2010
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Professor Ian M. Johnson "Ian" (Aberdeen, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel [DVD] [2008] [2010] (DVD)
The production and direction convey the frightening aspects of the most frightening of Grimm's fairy tales, and the singing and acting are excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful entertainment, 22 July 2013
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Mrsmargaretwillis (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel [DVD] [2008] [2010] (DVD)
The acting and singing is superb. The Witch is so beautifully ugly and disgusting and the two leads, Hansel and Gretel have mastered the art of being children to perfection. The detail is superb and the sets so very interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars absolute delight for young & old alike !, 14 July 2011
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This review is from: Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel [DVD] [2008] [2010] (DVD)
This opera is a delight to watch, and listen to, I would advise anyone to purchase it, and not be enchanted !We have already watched it three times, and still not tired of it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 19 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel [DVD] [2008] [2010] (DVD)
Wonderful
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars DVD, 5 May 2011
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Don (bromley uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel [DVD] [2008] [2010] (DVD)
Rather disappointed with the DVD as the close up of the main singers made it difficult to see them as children.

The story line had also been sanitized in this production; to its detriment.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hansel & Gretel not helped by the close-ups, 14 Oct. 2009
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Adrian Buxton (Bournemouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel [DVD] [2008] [2010] (DVD)
The production at the ROH and this DVD both got favourable reviews but although Angelika Kirchschlager and Diana Damrau sang splendidly and probably charmed when seen on the stage from the auditorium they don't convince as children on the DVD close-ups.
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Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel [DVD] [2008] [2010]
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