Many think of Hansel and Gretel as a "Christmas" opera or a "children's" opera. It's neither. The gingerbread house and the fact that the world premiere of Humperdinck's work took place on Christmas eve may be the reasons for the former. The Wagnerian scope of the music and the great skill required of singers to ride the tides of a big opera orchestra defies the latter. The Metropolitan Opera's lovely Christmas day performance, sung in intelligible English, is miles above the video competition. All of the singers are terrific, the late Thomas Fulton leads the music with authority and taste, and the old-fashioned O'Hearn production looks great. Look no further.
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