The Night Before Christmas Eve in 1893 – Hänsel und Gretel


(GER) Hansel und Gretel




Hansel and Gretel are sent into the forest by their mother to gather berries. The children get lost and stumble upon a house made of gingerbread, which proves too much of a temptation, despite the strange woman – a witch – who lives there.

This gives us a hint as to how the gingerbread house became a Christmas tradition – facades and rooftops baked by moms and dads and assembled by children each year.


This fairytale opera about a brother and sister who get lost in a forest was originally created by composer Engelbert Humperdinck and his sister Adelheid Wette as children’s entertainment; it soon turned into a full-fledged opera. Humperdinck’s colourful score and Wette’s libretto bring out the dark aspects of the Brothers Grimms’ fairytale and convey its humour and sense of hope. Hansel and Gretel was first performed in Weimar on the night before Christmas Eve in 1893. The opera opened in London on Boxing Day the following year, and has remained an enduring seasonal classic throughout Europe. – Royal Opera House

Hänsel und Gretel (Zurich Opera House 1999)   

– altered by Hystoria

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