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Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel [Blu-ray]

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Diana Damrau and Angelika Kirchschlager star in the
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.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Diana Damrau, Angelika Kirchschlager, Thomas Allen, Anja Silja, Colin Davis
  • Directors: Moshe Leiser, Patrice Caurier, Sue Judd
  • Writers: Engelbert Humperdinck, Adelheid Wette
  • Producers: Royal Opera House, Angela Alvarez Rilla, James Whitbourn
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German (PCM)
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: July 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0028O34S6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,570 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mr John Haueisen VINE VOICE on January 9, 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
There are many reasons for enjoying this performance of Hansel and Gretel, with just a few reservations.
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.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is an excellent production for the first two acts. Damrau and Kirchschlager are charming, ingenuous and childlike as Gretel and Hansel. Their body language and vocal expression perfectly convey their respective characters. They sing and harmonize beautifully. Thomas Allen retains power and charisma as the father. Sets are magical. Nice atmosphere. Unfortunately, it all comes apart for the third act. The gingerbread house is shown as a scale model about one foot high. Probably to facilitate eating. But the depiction of the witch is truly unmotivated and gross. A lesson in how to ruin an otherwise excellent production. Ugh! Double ugh!!
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This is simply one of the best opera productions I ever saw. Damrau is her usual incredible, magical self and the rest of the cast is equally excellent. The sets and costumes are decidedly non-traditional but they work amazingly well and the staging is a truly magical --- filled with imaginative touches. This is a Hansel and Gretel for people who usually find the opera a bore --- it is mezmerizing --- don't miss it!
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This production is the one of the two that rival the Gruberova/Solti one of the 1980s. True, Hansel and Gretel in this do not look like kids, which seems to be the only criticism that some people have recorded, but with the exception of the Zurich production with Malin Hartelius and Liliana Nikiteanu, no production that I know of has come up to that standard insofar as that kind of criticism goes. This Opera does require some serious singing skills, and I dont think any of the very young brats that are going around can do justice to a blu ray or dvd production of this.

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.
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