Humperdinck: Hansel And Gretel / Delfs, Mentzer, Et Al

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If it's Hansel-in-English you're looking for, this set clearly is your choice...Here we get a lovely pair of kids in Suzanne Mentzer and Heidi Grant Murphy, their voices so utterly un-alike that the listening experience is vivid for that alone--but besides that, their interplay is credible and they both make wonderful sounds. Mentzer's dark-hued mezzo is suitably boyish, while Murphy's little-girl tone is charming. Judith Forst, hardly in the first bloom of her career, is a vicious Witch, smacking her lips and exuding spite and malice--and her diction is quite good too, unlike Murphy's, just to offer one comparison. Janice Taylor's portrayal of the mother is very fine, but her tone is wobbly; Robert Orth is a sympathetic, burly father; and Anna Christy's double-duty as Sandman and Dew Fairy is impressive. Conductor Andreas Delfs favors slowish tempos, bringing out the rich, symphonic aspects of the score and always making clear that Humperdinck was heavily influenced by Wagner. The Milwaukee Orchestra is excellent, with playing both atmospheric and grand from the brass section in this live performance (no audience is discernible). I guess it's nice to hear the opera in English even if much of it can't be understood, but--not to pick nits--why would a child say toil" when he can say "work"? The sound is better than good--rich and colorful." --Robert Levine,

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: AV0050

  • UPC: 822252005028

  • Label: Avie

  • Composer: Engelbert Humperdinck

  • Conductor: Andreas Delfs

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Milwaukee Children's Choir, Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

  • Performer: Anna Christy, Heidi Grant Murphy, Janice Taylor, Judith Forst, Robert Orth, Susanne Mentzer