Composer Engelbert Humperdinck

Wednesday, 09. January 2002
07:30 pm – 09:55 pm

Duration est. 2 hours 25 minutes · 1 Interval between 1. + 2. Bild and 3. Bild (est. 08:35 pm - 09:10 pm )

Prices PH

To List of Performances


Musikalische Leitung
David Stahl
Herbert List
Bühne und Kostüme
Herbert Kern
Stellario Fagone

Peter, Besenbinder
Thomas Mohr
Jennifer Trost
Helena Jungwirth
Annegeer Stumphius
Die Knusperhexe
Cornelia Wulkopf
Judith Gennrich
Anja Augustin
To List of Performances

Learn more

Well-known, well-loved – a popular favorite: the best of all story-book operas! Parents in poverty – children in mortal peril! Gingerbread house, evening prayer, the witch riding her broomstick! The classic of the Christmas season – between folk song and chorale.  The first opera for the kids – a beloved work for the young at heart, and – a musical quiz for Wagnerians.  Anyone who underestimates this work is making a big mistake!


Act I

Hänsel and Gretel, a broom-maker's children, are hard at work. In hopes of cheering up her moody and hungry brother, his sister tells him a secret: a neighbor lady has brought them a pot of milk, and they will be having sweet rice pudding for supper.

In their joy, they didn't notice that their mother has returned home. Angry that the children are dancing around the room instead of getting their work done, she comes after them with a stick. In the course of this, she bumps into the table knocking over the milk. Now they can forget the nice supper, and the two children are sent off into the woods to get some berries to replace their meal.

Shortly thereafter, their father comes back from town, overjoyed and a little tipsy. His brooms have sold well, and he is bringing some tasty treats for dinner. His joy evaporates however, when he hears that his children are out in the woods alone. The parents go off looking for Hänsel and Gretel.

Act II

Gretel sits under a tree binding some flowers into a wreath. Hänsel comes over with a basket full of freshly picked strawberries.

The cuckoo calls. Engrossed in frolicking and nibbling, the children forget they were supposed to bring home some food for supper. Night falls. Hänsel has lost his way, and the children start getting frightened.

They lay down on a mossy hill: the Sandman comes and puts them to sleep. Angels climb down a golden staircase and watch over them.


The Dew Fairy arrives in the morning and wakes the children up. While they tell one another their dreams, the mists suddenly divide - and they see a gingerbread house in front of them. Covered with icing and magnificent gingerbread, it tempts Hänsel and Gretel to come closer; even a menacing voice asking questions doesn't bother the hungry children.

Then the Witch comes sneaking up, catching Hänsel in a snare. She locks him in a cage because he has to be fattened up so he can later become a tasty roast. The Witch heats up the bake oven and rides around gleefully on her broom.

First it's Gretel's turn, but she tricks the Witch. When the Witch tells her to crawl into the oven to check for gingerbread, she tells her she must first show her how to do it. As soon as she sticks her head into the oven, Hänsel and Gretel pounce on her, push the Witch into the oven and lock the door. This sends the roof of the oven flying into the air, and the gingerbread figures are changed back into boys and girls. In their place, the Witch now appears baked into a huge gingerbread cake. A heavenly court has condemned her to fall victim to her own sorcery.

English translation by Donald Arthur

© Bavarian State Opera

To List of Performances


Geboren in New York; ist seit 1984 Music Director des Charleston Symphony Orchestra und seit der Spielzeit 1999/2000 Chefdirigent des Staatstheaters am Gärtnerplatz. Seine Ausbildung erhielt er am New Yorker Queens College. Schon mit 23 Jahren gab er sein Debüt in der Carnegie Hall, wenig später holte ihn Seiji Ozawa als Assistenten zum Tanglewood Festival. Dort kam es zu Begegnungen und Zusammenarbeit mit Leonard Bernstein, Gunther Schuller, Olivier Messiaen und Mstislav Rostropovich. Sein Debüt in Deutschland gab er im Staatstheater Darmstadt mit Beethovens Fidelio und am Nationaltheater Mannheim mit Wagners Tristan und Isolde. Er ist Gast zahlreicher bedeutender Orchester in Amerika und Europa, darunter die Symphonieorchester von Boston, New York, die Bamberger Symphoniker, die Dresdner Staatskapelle, das Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester des NDR sowie die Münchner Philharmoniker. Er dirigierte an den Opernhäusern von Washington, New York, Minneapolis, an der Chicago Lyric Opera, in Paris und beim Spoleto Festival.

To List of Performances