Hansel und Gretel
Hansel und Gretel
Hungarian State Opera

Hänsel und Gretel

This performance is no longer viewable as video-on-demand for rights reasons but other material about the production is still available.


Gabriella Balga 
Nánási Helga 
Peter (father)
Zsolt Haja 
Gertrud (mother)
Atala Schöck 
The Witch
Bernadett Wiedemann 
The Sleep Fairy
Eszter Zavaros
The Dew Fairy
Ingrid Kertesi 
Engelbert Humperdinck
János Kovács
Rafael R. Villalobos
Emanuele Sinisi
Rafael R. Villalobos
Adelheid Wette, after the Brothers Grimm
Chorus Master
Nikolett Hajzer



Sneak peek at Hänsel und Gretel

The forest holds many secrets... stumble upon the scariest one

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Hocus pocus, Hexenschuss

Hansel and Gretel have found the gingerbread house in the woods and start eating it. They are so delighted that its roof and windows are edible, that they do not notice the Witch, who captures Hänsel to fatten him up to be cooked. Mezzo-soprano Bernadett Wiedemann sings 'Hocus pocus, Hexenschuss' from Humperdinck's opera Hänsel und Gretel at Hungarian State Opera.

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The story

Act 1 takes place in the broom-maker Peter’s house. His son Hänsel complains that he is hungry. Hänsel’s sister Gretel shows him some milk which a neighbour has given for the family’s supper. The children play and dance together. Their mother Gertrude returns and chides them for not working. She accidentally spills the milk, and chases them out into the forest to pick strawberries.  Their father Peter has been drinking, but has brought home some food. When he asks where the children are, his wife says that she sent them out into the woods. He warns her of the Witch who lives there and of the danger to their children. The parents leave their house to look for them.

Act 2 is in the woods. Hänsel picks strawberries. The children hear a cuckoo’s song, and eat all the strawberries. The wood darkens and, in its silence, Hänsel admits that he has lost their way. The mists rise, and the children grow frightened. The Sleep Fairy comes and rocks the children to sleep by singing.

Act 3 is the Gingerbread House, which the children discover when awakened by the Dew Fairy. They are so delighted that its roof and windows are edible, that they do not notice the Witch, who captures Hänsel in order to fatten him up to be cooked. Gretel, however, outwits her, and it is the Witch who topples into the flames instead. The oven explodes; whereupon, captive gingerbread children are restored to life. Just as they are freed, Hänsel and Gretel's parents also arrive. Together, everyone rejoices in the defeat of the wicked one, vanquished by the clever and courageous little girl.


The Wagnerian Engelbert Humperdinck is one of the most important figures in German fairy-tale opera. Humperdinck was not only a great admirer of Wagner’s music; he assisted in the production of Parsifal and tutored Wagner’s own son, Siegfried, in music.

The spirit of Wagner’s music is in Humperdinck’s work, and his only opera Hänsel und Gretel illustrates this. The opera began life as four songs for a pupper show Humperdinck’s nieces were putting together. The piece was immediately declared a masterpiece by Humperdinck's contemporary Richard Strauss, who conducted the fairy-tale opera at its Weimar premiere. This production of Hänsel und Gretel is directed Rafael R. Villalobos (Spain), winner of the European Opera-directing Prize in Graz.