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Nordharzer Städtebundtheater Halberstadt-Quedlinburg
Halberstadt, Germany

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A fairy tale full of magic

Musically and scenically, the premiere of the opera "Hansel and Gretel" on Sunday in the sold-out Große Haus Halberstadt of the Nordharzer Städtebundtheater was a creamy cake. Seven minutes of rhythmic applause! From Hans Walter Halberstadt. Director Christian Poewe and his outfitter Alrune Sera invested a lot - especially in socially accurate figure drawings and in the magical set design and costumes (dramaturgy: Susanne Range). From the first horn call of the overture an imaginative panorama rolls off. The Sandman is the playmaker throughout the opera. Kerstin Pettersson is fabulous in the role. She directs children through the magical forest in shadow play, lets their mother collect wood and let their parents' hut float in from the Schürboden. A little house that can be opened like from a cut-out sheet. End of the overture - and the first applause from the scene. "Suse, dear Suse" sing Hansel and Gretel and "Brothers, come dance with me". Hansel (Regina Pätzer) has no other choice - Gretel (Nina Schubert) literally ensnared him with her knitting. Dance as a continuation of the song. The two hardly notice that the cream pot broke at some point in the game. Then the mother (Gerlind Schröder) comes in - pissed off at the loss. The children are sent into the forest to collect berries. The father (Juha Koskela) appears tipsy. "Hunger is the best cook," he proclaims. A possessive guy, tall and blond and keen on his wife - the only pleasure of the poor that costs nothing. But where are the children? The parents go in search of them, depressed by the worry that the Knusperhexe on the Ilsestein high above Ilsenburg might have caught them. The librettist Adelheid Wette also used the myths of the Harz saga for her romantic opera, and her brother Engelbert Humperdinck composed the extremely colorful music for it. The forest becomes a place of mystery, it works and weaves. It's dark and mysterious, poetic and lovely. He has flowers. Berries and prickly corners. But the wild rose hedge, represented by 24 playful children from the choir of the Käthe-Kollwitz-Gymnasium, opens up for Hansel and Gretel. After the duet "Evenings, when I go to sleep", played with great intensity, they sleep exhausted - and the forest sparkles and shines. A magical lighting design, realized by Wolfgang Richter and Holger Hofmann. Ensemble with great performance But the forest is changing, becoming tree-sized candy canes. Again a little house floats in - thickly covered in sugar, with the crispy witch's big oven. A comedic showpiece for Tobias Amadeus Schöner in red high heels, red dress and pink scarf. When the witch takes the long knitting needles from her blonde wig, her hair puffs up - you think you're seeing the reincarnation of Cindy from Marzahn! That works well, transferring a fictional character into another medium. The singer Schöner prances, charms and conjures up with his knitting needle magic wand that it is a real pleasure. Of course the witch ends up in the oven. Her house explodes, and the living gingerbread fence is transformed back into the children whom the witch once brought under her control - "redeemed, set free for all time". Long live the theater with its miracles! The finale, in which the parents now appear completely in innocent white, is exaggerated like a fairy tale. But Hansel and Gretel only hug their father. The mother stands by, unloved. A thoughtful ending. It was a great ensemble achievement by the transparently performing orchestra under Martin Hannus, the children's choir studied by Jan Rozehnal and Ronny Strübing, the musically and dramatically excellent soloist ensemble, the mask, props and dressers as well as the stage technology and the workshops.

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30 November 2010www.volksstimme.deVolkstimme

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