Hansel and Gretel
Trouble at home. Two hungry children lost in a haunted forest. The lure of a gingerbread house. The frightening hocus pocus of the predatory Witch. And the smarts of the children who triumph in the end. All wrapped up in the delicious sound world of Engelbert Humperdinck’s operatic masterpiece.
Sung in English with English surtitles.
Running time is 2 hours including an interval.
One of the greatest operas about children. Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel is full of music that is sweet and beguiling, and it combines childlike simplicity with heart aching beauty. He wanted a plot that “was not made up of murders, brutal deaths, operetta- like nonsense, or sugar-sweet fairy tales.” Do not be fooled. This is a story of greed and starvation, mouth-wateringly sugar-coated.
This opera is suitable for children 9 and up.
“it’s the first work that has impressed me for a very long time.” - Composer Richard Strauss
“one of the sweetest yet most lushly captivating scores in the entire operatic repertory” - New York Times
“a voice so large, so effortless seeming, so distinctive that once she opens her mouth it’s as if you’re pinned to your seat” - The Irish Times on Miriam Murphy
“a natural stage performer, gifted with a fine soprano voice...” - Goldenplec on Amy Ní Fhearraigh
A CO-PRODUCTION WITH THEATRE LOVETT AND ABBEY THEATRE
Cast & Creatives
|Gretel||Amy Ní Fhearraigh|
|Sandman & Dew Fairy||Emma Nash|
|The Night Watchman||Raymond Keane|
|Lost Children||Amelie Metcalfe||Ronan Millar|
|Violin 1||Sarah Sew|
|Violin 2||Larissa O’Grady|
|Flute||Ríona Ó Duinnín|
|Directors||Muireann Ahern & Louis Lovett|
|Set & Costume Designer||Jamie Vartan|
|Lighting Designer||Sarah-Jane Shiels|
|Video Designer||Jack Phelan|
|Sound Editor||Carl Kennedy|
Amy Ní Fhearraigh
Muireann Ahern, Louis Lovett
OVERTURE / The foyer of The Forest Edge Hotel.
We see a number of people arriving into a hotel. This hotel has a house band and a silent Night Watchman who also acts as the hotel porter. Musicians arrive plus the hotel lounge singer, aka The Dew Fairy, with her two young children. A homeless family arrive and are put up also. This is Hansel and Gretel with their parents. In the midst of the bustle the Dew Fairy’s two young children appear to… disappear. Where could they be? And who was that woman in black up on the upper floor balcony?
ACT I / The foyer of The Forest Edge Hotel.
Hansel and Gretel’s parents are out and the children are alone in the hotel foyer except for the night watchman character who monitors their movements. They are entertaining themselves as children do. Their mother arrives tired and angry. She orders them down to the bar and lounge to scrounge for food. They hurry off. Their father arrives home. When he hears where the children have gone he warns his wife of the dangers of that place. He believes in witches. They rush off to find the children.
PRELUDE TO ACT II / The Witches Ride
With the help of a self-possessed young witch we transition from the hotel foyer to the hotel bar. The Night Watchman seems to be in the grip of her power.
ACT II / The Haunted Woods Bar
The children have gone deeper into the bowels of the hotel and find themselves in the bizarre hotel bar, The Haunted Woods. Here, the Night Watchman doubles as bartender. The lounge singer The Dew Fairy is bereft as her two young children are missing. Hansel and Gretel scoff marshmallows but gradually realise that they are lost and that, in any case, they dare not return to their mother with empty hands. Terrified by the approaching night and the strangeness of their surroundings Hansel and Gretel see a sleepwalker drawing near. They dub him The Sandman while the lounge singer sings to them, making them fall asleep as soon as they have finished their prayers.
Miraculously, they both dream the same dream.
ACT III / The Wickedly Rich Kitchen
The children are roused by The Dew Fairy. Once awake, they look around at their strange surroundings. They see for the first time a remarkable place, The Hotel Kitchen. It tantalises them, drawing them closer, conjuring the possibility of satisfying their aching hunger pangs.
They are invited inside by a beautiful woman. However, she turns out to be quite wicked. She freezes Gretel and cages Hansel. She puts Gretel to work after explaining how to operate an oven and extolling the pleasures of eating cooked flesh. Gretel succeeds in turning the tables on her and burns this bewitcher alive in her own oven. A group of her victims, missing children, materialise and sing their gratitude at being rescued. The mother and father appear and father thanks God.