Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Berlin Philharmonic: Humperdinck's 'Hansel and Gretel'

The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra performs Engelbert Humperdinck's opera, "Hansel and Gretel"—Witch's Ride (Hexenritt), under the baton of an eight-year-old. Here's why. During a family concert of the Berlin Philharmonic in December 2006, conductor Mark Elder asked the audience if any of the children present wanted to conduct the orchestra. An eight-year-old stepped forward. Music and children are a wonderful combination, since all children naturally love music.


Engelbert Humperdinck composed Hansel and Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel) in Frankfurt, Germany, and completed the opera in 1892. The story is based on the Brothers Grimm fairy-tale of the same name, a much-loved children's classic and a morality tale of good overcoming evil (The synopsis can be found here.)

The opera premiered in Weimar on December 23, 1893, conducted by Richard Strauss. Its first performance in England was in London on December 26, 1894, and in the United States in New York City on October 8, 1895. There are countless recordings on radio, TV and film. The opera, shortly after its inception more than a century ago, has had a connection with the Christmas holidays.

Hänsel und Gretel: This is an illustration of the children's encounter with a witch, from the well-known fairy-tale of German origin that the Brothers Grimm recorded and published in 1812.
Artist Credit: Alexander Zick [1845-1907]
Source: Wikipedia