• Hansel and Gretel Educator Guide

What to Expect from Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel, the opera, takes a path somewhat different from the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale. Created by the real-life brother and sister Engelbert Humperdinck and Adelheid Wette, the work infuses a familiar story with both spirituality and grim realism. (By the way, this Engelbert Humperdinck is not the easy-listening heartthrob of the late 1960s, but a late 19th-century composer, a disciple of the hugely influential composer, Richard Wagner.)

  • Classroom Activities

    Two full-length activities, designed to support your ongoing curriculum.
  • Musical Highlights

    Five "Musical Highlights" designed to focus briefly on bits of music from Hansel and Gretel to cultivate familiarity with the work.
  • Performance Activities

    Performance Activities for students to enjoy during the Metropolitan Opera HD transmission.
  • Post-Show Discussion

    A post-transmission activity, integrating the Live in HD experience into students' wider views of the performing arts.

Hansel and Gretel at the Met

For all its dark magic and witchcraft, Hansel and Gretel is fundamentally about the pleasures of food and the terrors of hunger as experienced by the famous fairy-tale simblings. The Metropolitan Opera production, conceived and directed by Richard Jones, enlarges upon this theme. Set design, staging, costumes, and even the curtains that fall between acts express the centrality of food, hunger, and gluttony to the text and score.

It’s not only Humperdinck’s catchy tunes or the universal themes that makes this Met production of Hansel and Gretel particularly accessible to families and young people — native English speakers will understand every word, since this quintessentially German opera is performed in English translation. Familiarity with the plot, characters, and some of the music can enrich your community’s Live in HD experience. This guide offers a variety of experiences that are designed for classroom use that will also help generate anticipation, heighten enjoyment, and promote understanding for all audiences.