Hansel and Gretel 2022
Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel has a long association with Christmas….indeed it was premiered on 23rd December 1893 and has been the operatic mainstay of the Christmas season ever since…the operatic equivalent of The Nutcracker, a safe introduction to opera for young children in the form of an upmarket pantomime with its Witch, its Fairy and even a principal boy in the form of Hansel.
Yet behind this there is a much darker side. The piece fundamentally deals with childhood poverty and how many children go hungry even when surrounded by food. This darkness extends to the comedy of the piece in the form of the Witch – in our version a Celebrity Chef launching her new Christmas cookbook “Cooking with Children”- and her increasingly desperate attempts to consume Hansel.
We have seized on this connection between Christmas and deprivation as the basis for our production. The Season of Good Will is not necessarily extended to all. Hansel and Gretel find themselves [like many children today] homeless at Christmas.