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Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel Enhanced, Original recording remastered

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, Original recording remastered, October 18, 2005
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Prelude
  2. Suse, liebe Suse - John Pritchard
  3. Brüderchen, komm tanz mit mir - John Pritchard
  4. Holla!...die Mutter!
  5. Ral-la-la-la
  6. Doch halt, wo bleiben die Kinder?
  7. Eine Hex', steinalt
  8. Act Two: Prelude: The Witches' Ride
  9. Ein Männlein steht
  10. Kuckuck, Kuckuck
  11. Der kleine Sandmann bin ich
  12. Abends, will ich schlafen gehn - John Pritchard
  13. Pantomime

Disc: 2

  1. Act Three: Prelude
  2. Der kleine Taumann heiss ich
  3. Wo bin ich?
  4. Sieh' da, der faule
  5. Bleib' stehn!
  6. Knusper, knusper
  7. Kommt, kleine Mauslein
  8. Halt!...Hokus pokus
  9. Nun Gretel
  10. Hurr hopp hopp
  11. Auf, wach' auf
  12. Dance
  13. Erlöst, befreit
  14. Vater! Mutter!


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 18, 2005)
  • Rmst ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Enhanced, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • ASIN: B000B5Y01O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,085 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Amneris on November 17, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a marvelous recording. I have loved it since it first came out in lp (those wonderful box sets with a full-size libretto you could actually read) and have missed it since I "lost" all my opera recordings. I have wanted for so long to replace it on cd and now at last I have it.

Cotrubas and Von Stade are just wonderful as Gretel and Hansel; so, for that matter is everyone, especially Soderstom as the Witch. The music is so beautiful that I get tears from just the introduction alone.

However, when I opened the package I was thunderstruck! Some bonehead at Sony Masterworks decided not to include a libretto and booklet with notes about the artist and the work. Instead, s/he or them decided to put the libretto on as a cd-rom. Great! For those who don't have a libretto and are not familiar with the opera and don't have a computer, bad news. For those who do have a computer and for some reason you cannot access the cd-rom, there is a note that your computer might not be compatible with the cd-rom.

This is the very first opera on cd that this has happened with and I am amazed that a company like Sony would send out a cd without a printed libretto. For me there is no problem since I know this opera completely. But for those who don't and want their child/children to hear it, there is no synopsis or libretto or anything there. And no track numbers, either.

But it is a fabulous recording!
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Format: Audio CD
This beautifully-sung and -recorded version of the only German opera between Parsifal and Salome to hold its place in the repertory has a lot of competition. But few stereo recordings can match the glory of von Stade's singing, or the rich, full Wagnerian sound elicited by Sir John Pritchard. This opera is filled with gorgeous orchestral detail that can't always be heard in the opera house, because it can often drown out the "young" size voices frequently cast. Yet this recording manages to balance it all quite well. Ileana Cotrubas as Gretel is not as rich a sound as may be considered ideal, but she is well-recorded and rarely sounds thin or brittle. Soderstroem's Witch is an acquired taste, but she does not ruin the performance. One of the standouts of this recording is the rich and sumptuous voice of the young Kiri te Kanawa as the Sandman. This small but pivotal scene has never been recorded more beautifully than here.
The children's choruses at the end are lovely, and they sound more like "real" children than in other recordings, which frequently use more academically-trained choirs.
There are other good recordings of this work. Jennifer Larmore's version on Teldec is beautifully sung, but is not recorded as richly. Sir Colin Davis on Philips brings out much the same orchestral beauty, but his version simply isn't as sweetly sung. For nearly everything in balance for a performance of this opera, the Pritchard version is the one to have.
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Format: Audio CD
Humperdinck's "Christmas Opera That Really Isn't a Christmas Opera" exists in several fine audio recordings, and this is one of them. Maestro Pritchard achieves some very lovely sonorities from this little-known orchestra and childrens chorus. Cotrubas and von Stade are wonderful as the kids (although I wish Sony had tried for Judith Blegen as Gretel; you'll have to content yourself with the DVD of the wonderful Metropolitan Opera production in English for that). Ludwig this time is the mother (she has previously recorded the Hexe, or Witch, not once but twice but never performed it on stage!), Nimsgern as the Father and Soderstrom doing what she said was an unintentional impersonation of Schwarzkoph as the Hexe. (Would you believe that Jon Vickers was originally cast as the Witch? Vickers is wonderful, but I'm rather glad that bit of imaginative casting didn't happen. Could you imagine Florestan or Otello as the Witch?). The late Ruth Welting and Kiri TeKanawa do lovely cameos as the Dew Fairy and Sandman. All in all, a wonderful recording and happy that it is available again. It's on the same plane as Donath/Moffo/Fischer-Dieskau on RCA or Schwarzkoph/von Karajan on EMI, and any one of these recordings gets my vote for Hansel.
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Format: Audio CD
HANSEL AND GRETEL is often classified as a children's opera, but opera buffs question the accuracy of such a classification. Certainly it is based on a classic children's story, and it can be staged in a way that makes it appealing to children, but there is more to it than often meets the eye. For example, the plot does not involve a wicket stepmother who forces the children away, but a stressed mother who gets angry with the children. This is a family that lives in poverty, but is bound by love. This gives the piece a certain amount of drama. The music is robust and is heavily influenced by the works of Wagner. There are themes that introduce the various characters and scenes. There are beautiful solo pieces, duets, and ensembles, and beautiful parts written for the children's chorus.
This recording is excellent. It has the wonderful voices of Frederica von Stade and Ileana Cotrubas as Hansel and Gretel respectively. Christa Ludwig is the mother and Siegmund Nimsgren sings the jovial role of the father. The recording also features the voices of Kiri Te Kanawa and Ruth Welting. The female voices alone make it worthwhile. Thomas Pritchard conducts the Gurzenich Orchestra. The sound of the orchestra is lavish and the ensemble seems familiar with the work. While this ensemble does not seem to have too many recordings, the strength of the orchestra in this recording would make a listener wonder why.
Though there are many wonderful historic recordings of this work from the golden age of German opera singing, this is certainly a recording that will appeal to the modern listener.
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