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Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel [Blu-ray]
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acclaimed 2008 production of Humperdinck's famous fairytale
opera, in the company of two of Britain's most revered
musical figures: Thomas Allen, playing the role of the Father,
and the legendary conductor Colin Davis. Directors Patrice
Caurier and Moshe Leiser combine their characteristic wit
and a dash of deliciously dark comedy with the opera's
fairytale charm. Humperdinck s music mixes catchy folk-like
songs with sumptuous instrumental colour, making the result
as tunefully approachable, musically memorable and visually
delightful as opera gets. Filmed in High Definition and
recorded in full Surround Sound.
Top Customer Reviews
First, the reservations:
1. Yes, the witch does have a "cooler" filled with the hanging bodies of dead children. I tried to understand the reason behind this, and I think it might be to impress viewers that the witch is an evil person, deserving of the fate that Hansel and Gretel have in store for her.
2. Why does the witch have an aluminum walker? The only explanation I can come up with is that it may be to show her deceptiveness--how she tries to appear as a sweet old lady that "wouldn't hurt a fly."
3. Why does the witch appear early on to have her bare breasts exposed through her blue sweater? I really don't have an explanation for this unless it's some kind of pseudo-intellectual device to suggest that she's presenting a maternal image to the lost children. I just think it was gratuitous and not beneficial to the production.
OK, so what are the reasons for enjoying this performance?
First, the Blu-ray recording allows remarkable clarity of the picture. I almost thought that Hansel and Gretel's house was right there in my living room. Also, the sound (PCM 2.0 and PCM 5.1) was impressive. Be careful, when the witch's oven explodes, it may well frighten your neighbors.
The music is given full justice by the Royal Opera House Orchestra led by Colin Davis. The stage is a more contemporary setting, where you'll see Hansel and Gretel's parents as a working class couple. He comes home from a hard day of work, and she clutches her purse, worrying about family finances.Read more ›
I would also state that this production has been very well made, with no holds barred for visuals that stun and scare the target audience (mainly children, but enjoyed more by adults too), something that Humperdink himself avoided - no matter.
It does not make it yucky like some scenes from the recent MET production (Alice Coote, Christine Schäfer).
I would gladly recommend this as a companion to the Solti production (that was marred by pesky kids hamming it away in the audience being shown from time to time, distracting one from the fabulous film) insofar as the music and singing are concerned. Moreover, it is a Film and not performed on stage like this one..It also scores high above productions that are keen on ruining it be setting the scenes in places like malls and such and trying to modernize it. Singing is top quality and so is the conducting.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gretel does not look like a girl. Hans is OK. Too modern for me.Published 8 months ago by Felix M. Galvan-Bird, MD
This production, performance and recording of Humperdinck's perennially popular fairy-tale opera, Hansel and Gretel, is here presented at such an exceptionally fine level that it... Read morePublished on October 11, 2012 by I. Giles
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