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Do you believe in magic? Do you remember hiding under the bed covers gripped by the scary story of Hansel and Gretel, the wicked witch and her oversized gingerbread oven?
Grimm’s famous fairy tale is richly re-imagined in Engelbert Humperdinck’s operatic version, first performed in Weimar in 1893. Humperdinck fell under the spell of Wagner while assisting him at Bayreuth and his influence wafts through the music, though he manages to express the best elements of Wagnerian style on a human level.
This is a story of real people; real children who wander into a magical domain where angels protect them from moral danger and they return happily to their parents embrace. Humperdinck’s memorable, simple melodies have the directness of folksongs. His beautiful score glows with human warmth and spirituality in numbers like the Evening Prayer sung by the children as they fall asleep in the forest.
It concludes in thanksgiving for the miracle of good over evil and the sanctity of decent folk. Fairy tales aren’t just for children. Once upon a time, Sir Andrew Davis came to Melbourne. This concert is a fitting farewell to his fairy tale tenure as Chief Conductor of the MSO.