On Dec. 18, the Metropolitan Opera will open its production of “Hansel and Gretel.” The current production, directed by Richard Jones, made its debut in 2007, and will now get its 32nd performance. Here are some fun facts about the upcoming production and what fans can expect from these seven showcases of “Hansel and Gretel.”
When the work made its premiere in 2007, it was the first new production of the Humperdink opera since the 1967 version by Nathaniel Merrill, which held the stage for a whopping 90 performances.
Ending a Hiatus
When the opera returned in 2007, it marked the end of a five-year hiatus. The opera had last been presented on Jan. 5, 2002.
From Dew Fairy to Gretel
When she steps on the Met stage to take on the role of Gretel on the 18th, soprano Lisette Oropesa will be coming full circle with this opera. She appeared on the opening night of the Jones production back in 2007, but she played the Dew Fairy while Christine Schäfer appeared as Gretel.
Tara Erraught made her Met debut earlier this season in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” but readers will be interested to know that she is a veteran of this production, taking on the role of Hansel dozens of times in Munich, where the Jones’ version of “Hansel and Gretel” is active.
“I have done 26 performances of that production in German. Richard is a great friend of mine and it is so interesting to sing this production because I can feel his own character in it,” she told OperaWire in an interview earlier this year. “It is a great gift to be able to sing it somewhere else. I have done it in Munich every season since its premiere. To sing it in English is fun and to bring it to another audience is wonderful.”
The Tenor Witch
Jones’ production has made a tradition out of casting the Witch as a tenor. For this particular production, Gerhard Siegel will be the third tenor to take on the role in this version of the work. He follows Philip Langridge and Robert Brubaker.
Dates To Note
The production runs on Dec. 18, 22, 26, 28, 30, Jan. 1, and 6. The performances on Dec. 28 and Jan. 6 will start at 1 p.m. Other cast members include Dolora Zajick as Gertrude and Quinn Kelsey as Peter. Maureen McKay, Dwayne Croft, and Ingeborg Gillebo step in for the Dec. 28 matinee taking on the roles of Gretel, Hansel, and Peter, respectively.