The Sedona International Film Festival will present the holiday encore of the Met Opera’s “Hansel and Gretel” on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 1 and 4 p.m. at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre.
A Met English-language holiday presentation, Richard Jones’s clever production of Humperdinck’s fairy-tale opera “Hansel and Gretel” is based on the Brothers Grimm story. Donald Runnicles conducts the sweeping score and the delightful cast includes: Alice Coote, Christine Schäfer, Rosalind Plowright, Alan Held, Philip Langridge, Sasha Cooke and Lisette Oropesa.
Originally conceived as a small-scale vocal entertainment for children, “Hansel and Gretel” resonates with both adults and children, and has become one of the most successful fairy-tale operas ever created. The composer, Engelbert Humperdinck, was a protégé of Richard Wagner, and the opera’s score is flavored with the sophisticated musical lessons he learned from his idol while maintaining a charm and a light touch that were entirely Humperdinck’s own. The opera acknowledges the darker features present in the Brothers Grimm version of the familiar folk tale, yet presents them within a frame of grace and humor.
In the broom-maker’s house. Hansel complains he is hungry. Gretel shows him some milk that a neighbor has given for the family’s supper. The children dance. Their mother returns and wants to know why they have got so little work done. She accidentally spills the milk and chases the children out into the woods to pick strawberries.
Their father, a broom-maker, returns home drunk. He brings out the food he has bought, then asks where the children have gone. The mother tells him that she has sent them into the woods. He tells her about the Witch who lives there, and that the children are in danger. They go out into the woods to look for them.
In the woods. Hansel picks strawberries. The children hear a cuckoo singing and eat the strawberries. Soon they have eaten every one. In the sudden silence of the wood, Hansel admits to Gretel that he has lost the way. The children grow frightened.
The Sandman comes to bring them sleep, sprinkling sand over their eyes. The children say their evening prayer. In a dream, they see 14 angels.
The gingerbread house. The Dew Fairy comes to waken the children. Gretel wakes Hansel, and they see the gingerbread house. They do not notice the Witch. The Witch decides to fatten Hansel up and puts a spell on him. The oven is hot. Gretel breaks the Witch’s spell and sets Hansel free. When the Witch asks her to look in the oven, she pretends she doesn’t know how to: the Witch must show her. When the Witch peers into the oven, the children shove her inside and shut the door. The oven explodes. The gingerbread children come back to life. The mother and father find the children, and all express gratitude for their salvation.
The Met Live Opera’s “Hansel and Gretel” holiday encore will be presented on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 1 and 4 p.m. at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre. Tickets are $15 general admission, or $12.50 for Film Festival members. Tickets are available in advance at the Sedona International Film Festival office or by calling 928-282-1177 or online at www.SedonaFilmFestival.org. Both the theatre and film festival office are located at 2030 W. Hwy. 89A, in West Sedona.