Soraya Mafi (Gretel) and Caitlin Hulcup (Hansel). Credit: Richard Hubert-Smith

An introduction to Hänsel and Gretel

The forest is a dark place, as Hansel and Gretel discover when they venture out to find dinner and end up as potential dessert themselves.  It might be a fairy tale but Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera presents the haunting themes of the unsettling Grimm story with enchanting music.

Composed by: Engelbert Humperdinck in 1891-1892. The libretto, based on the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale, was written by his sister Adelheid Wette and was intended to be musical entertainment for her children before it was turned into a full-scale opera.

First performed: Hoftheater, Weimar, 23 December 1893, conducted by Richard Strauss. The opera opened in London at Christmas of the following year and has remained a seasonal classic throughout Europe.

Hänsel: Caitlin Hulcup. Caitlin previously sang Hänsel for Queensland Opera.

Gretel: Soraya Mafi. Soraya made her debut with us in Les Carmelites in 2013. The role of Gretel is Soraya’s solo role debut with Grange Park Opera.

Mother/Witch: Susan Bullock. Susan is a leading British soprano. She starred in our 2017 production of Jenufa as Kostelnicka.

Dew Fairy: Lizzie Holmes. Dew Fairy is Lizzie’s debut solo with us. She has recently starred as Cunegonde in Candide with Surrey Opera and as Amore in Orpheus and Eurydice with Opera in the City in 2018.

Sandman: Eleanor Sanderson-Nash. Eleanor sung in the chorus of Un Ballo in Maschera and Romeo et Juliette in 2018.

Did you know?  In the opera’s score the mother and father have names, Peter and Gertrud, but their names are never mentioned on stage. They are always “Father” and “Mother” even when speaking to each other.

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