Humperdinck’s 100th

Humperdinck’s 100th

Daily Comfort Zone

norman lebrecht

September 27, 2021

The German composer died on September 27, 1921.

He was 67 and is remembered chiefly for this.


  • Carlo says:

    Hänsel und Gretel is a Masterpiece!

    • Sixtus says:

      It truly is a masterpiece — surely the best opera in German between Parsifal and Salome.

      Too bad it is often dramatically and musically disfigured by a male playing the role of the witch even though Humperdinck’s score specifies a mezzo-soprano, which in his day would be interpreted as what today’s “wokeness” would refer to as a cis-female. [This is quite unlike Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde where the composer explicitly states that the Alto part can be executed by a Baritone, which introduces a decidedly homophilic aura to der Abschied.]

      Having a cis-male (of any vocal category) as the witch raises all sorts of paedophilic resonances unlikely to have been intended by the composer nor, probably, by the Grimm brothers, despite the already disturbing nature of their story. Humperdinck’s opera (like the Grimm tale) deals with enough issues to add this one too. It is nonetheless a very adult opera too often performed only as Disney-style children’s fluff.

  • Here it is beautifully sung, more propulsively led and with the Traumpantomime bringing the 14 angels they have just asked for: two at their head, two at their feet, two to their right, two to their left, two to cover them, two to wake them and two to show them to Paradise.

  • E says:

    What sweetness in their singing, in their song….