A Fairy Play by Humpcrdinck
THE .WIRELESS Chorus : Chorus
THE WIRELESS Symphony ORCHESTRA directed by PERCY PITT
HANSEL and Gretel is a delightful
Grimm's Fairy Tale Opera; it is. of course, always popular with the children.
The ' action ' should be followed without difficulty from the following description:- ACT I.
SCENE I.-At Home. In a poor room the boy
HANSEL (Mezzo-Soprano) and his sister GRETEL (Soprano) are seen, despite the pangs of hunger, singing and playing.
SCENE 2.-When the fun is at its height, in conies their MOTHER (Contralto). Sudden quiet! She scolds the children for neglecting their work, and in her anger accidentally overturns the jug of milk which was to have provided tho family supper. Weary and distracted, she drives the children out to gather wild strawberries, and, with a prayer for help, drops asleep, exhausted.
SCENE 3.-A gay song is heard, and there enters the FATHER (Baritone). He has at last sold the brooms he had made, and bought provisions in plenty. When he learns that the children have gone into the forest, he is alarmed. He sipgs an eerie song of a ' gobbling ogress.' With a cry, the Mother rushes out of the door to save her children.
SCENE I.-The Forest, Sunset. The children are in the forest, gathering strawberries and wild roses. As darkness falls, they take fright.
SCENE 2.-THE SANDMAN (Soprano) comes and strews sand in their eyes, singing his song. Half asleep, they sing their evening prayer. They fall asleep in one another's arms. Utter darkness has fallen.
SCENE 3.-A Scene without Words. A light shines through the mist, which rolls together into' a staircase down which ANGELS descend. They group around the children, and move in a stately dance. The Curtain falls.
SCENE 1.-Dawn. THE DEWMAN (Soprano) comes, singing I'm up with early dawning. The children wake.
SCENES 2 and 3.-As the mist finally clears, they find themselves in the haunts of the WITCH (Mezzo-Soprano), who in these Scenes shuts Hansel in her cage (to fatten him for eating) and transfixes Gretel, but is eventually pushed into her own oven by the children. The oven flares up, then crashes to the ground. Spells are broken and ' gingerbread children ' all round turn into real ones.
SCENE 4.--General dance and song of all the children. The Father's Tra-la-la ' is heard, and he and their Mother appear.
LAST SCENE.-One after another expresses joy, then all solemnly sing:
' When past bearing is our grief
Then 'tis Heaven will send relief.'