With the music written in the grand Wagnerian romantic style, Humperdinck’s opera also contains folk rhythms, songs for children and old melodies. The world premiere, in Weimar on 23 December 1893, was conducted by Richard Strauss, totally swept away by the piece. Enraptured too was the audience, and Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel has ever since remained extremely popular in Germany, where every December it has been performed at more than 35 opera houses. In 1905, the piece was first shown at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where it has often been staged during Christmas.
Matěj Forman is primarily known to Prague audiences as the designer of the magical scenery for the highly acclaimed productions La Belle et la Bête, A Walk Worthwhile and Enchantia, which he has created in recent years for the National Theatre Opera together with his brother Petr. Matěj Forman and his team’s conception of the musical fairy tale was inspired by the world of itinerant theatre.