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A. Libretto and Text introduction

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A. Libretto and Text


Design Your Own Opera!

Credits General Director, Choreographer, Costume Designer, Set Designer, Prop Master, Lighting Technician, Technical Effects: YOU!

The Cast Hansel: Diana Tash, Gretel: Jama Laurent, Mother: Nichol Larimer, Father: Richard Seymour, Witch: Nina Hinson

Hansel & Gretel, An Opea in Three Acts

Act I: Hansel and Gretel are dancing. Their mother comes home, scolds them and orders them outside. Father arrives with food only to find out that the children have gone to the Haunted Wood.

Act II: In the dark forest, the children have lost their way. Deciding to go to sleep for the night, they say their prayers and angels come to protect them from harm.

Act III: An ugly Witch captures the children hoping to bake them in her oven and eat them. Gretel tricks the Witch and throws her into the oven instead. The children are reunited with their parents.
(Listening and Learning) Here comes the beginning of the opera - the overture. Only the instruments play and a beautiful melody begins to tell the story.


(Listening and Learning) Listen for dance music in the next part of the story. The melody goes up and down just like happy kids jumping.


Gretel: Hansel dance and play with me,
My two hands I clap you see.

I will skip, I will jump, up and down and I won’t trip.

Hansel: I will turn and I will skip, back and forth and do not trip,

Let me see what I can do so that I can be like you!

Hansel: Tra la la Tra la la Tra la la la la

Gretel: Jump and skip and turn my sweet dear Hansel.

Hansel: Tra la la Tra la la Tra la la la la

Gretel: Jump and skip and turn my sweet dear brother!

Hansel and Gretel: Tra la la Tra la la Tra la la la la
(Listening and Learning) Next, see if you can hear Hansel laughing. That makes his mother so mad! Listen to the music change mood as she decides how to punish the kids.

Act 1 Scene 2 / ANGRY MOTHER

Mother: Good grief, the milk jug broken,

Oh heavens now what can I find for dinner!

Hansel: Hee Hee! Hee Hee!

Mother: What? Laughing? You careless boy, now you will be

Punished for this. Out, out, go outside, pick us some strawberries,

Hurry up, and bring back the basket full to the top.

That will give you both a good lesson to learn.
(Listening and Learning) Father comes home! Be sure to listen as he tells the mother about the witch! The music changes to such a dark color.


Father: Tra la la la, tra la la la, I brought home some tasty food.

Tra la la la, tra la la la, That should perk up mother’s mood.

But wait, where are my darling kids?

Mother: I kicked them out to the Haunted Wood!

Father: Those frightening woods, have you lost your mind?

What, you don’t know that dreadful place?

The home, the home of the most evil witch.

Mother: The evil witch, who is that?

Father: The witch who gobbles!
(Listening and Learning) Father is terrified! The music tells us this feeling in energy, motion, and color.


Father: All the terrible day, she cooks, they say,

In her crispy, crunchy Gingerbread house.

And children sweet she tries to eat,

She captures them with candy so sweet..

With bad thoughts and plans, with evil eye,

She traps the children with her curse,

To her oven they go, she

Gives them a throw, they’re baked to a turn, in the fire they burn!

(Listening and Learning) Oh no! Where are Hansel and Gretel? Listen for the cello melody suggesting night falling on the forest.

Act 2 Scene 1 / LOST IN THE WOODS

Hansel: Gretel, I can not see the path.

Gretel: Oh Hans! How awful, where is the road?

(Listening and Learning) Hansel and Gretel are lost and scared! They are going to say their prayers and go to sleep in the forest. There will be a surprise for you!

Act 2 Scene 2 / ANGELS PRAYER

Hansel and Gretel: Now I lay me down to sleep,

Pray the Angels safe do us keep.

Over us they guard our rest,

Over us they watch their best.

See how they are glowing,

Their light is just growing.

They stand watch around us,

Comfort, peace they give us.

Now they take their places,

Protecting us from all harm.

(Listening and Learning) Next is Intermission. Everyone gets a chance to stretch their legs before the final act.

BE A CONDUCTOR: Meet and Conduct the Orchestra
BE A SET DESIGNER: Design your Gingerbread House


Gretel: Oh look! Oh look!

Hansel: Good heavens, a dream of candy and cake,

I want to eat it all very fast!
(Listening and Learning) Guess who starts singing to Hansel and Gretel? The music sounds so sweet, do you believe it?

Act 3 Scene 2 / WITCH’S ENTRANCE

Witch: Little tiny mousey, who’s munching on my housie?


Hansel: Get back, ugly one, hands off me!

Witch: Charming mouse, and darling princess!

You’re munching my candy, Go and eat!

You sweet dear children, I plan to eat!

(Listening and Learning) Oh no! The Witch is casting a spell on the children. See if you can hear the string instruments playing a trembling sound, the music expresses fear!

Act 3 Scene 3 / WITCH’S SPELL

Hansel: Come quickly now, let’s go and run!

Witch: Stop! Now you’re in my spell, stand still.

You are captured and feel ill!

I watch you with evil eye,

Don’t you move and don’t you try!
(Listening and Learning) The Witch is going to fly on her broomstick. The rhythm of the music shows her zooming around.

Act 3 Scene 4 / WITCH’S SONG

Witch: So chop and lop and gallop, hop, a broomstick ride for my old hide.

I fly on high up in the sky and in the night I cause a fright.

At 12 o’clock when there’s no light the witches dance,

They zoom and prance!

(Listening and Learning) Listen for the Witch slurping over Hansel. Why does she make that evil noise? Listen for the theme of the Witch.

Act 3 Scene 5 / WITCH AND HANSEL

Witch: Come snap to my Hansel young, stick out your fine pink tongue.

Oh how juicy! Mmmmm! Oh how tender! Mmmmm!

Little tasty boy come here, now let me see your ear!

(Listening and Learning) Here comes trouble for Gretel! The Witch wants her to do something, what could it be? Does the music have a sweet mood? Why?

Act 3 Scene 6 / WITCH AND GRETEL

Witch: Here, Gretel dear, little goose don’t fear.

Look in the oven, be ready. Peep and be ever so steady.

Take a look now see, tell me so swiftly,

Is it cooked to taste? Do it in haste!

(Listening and Learning) Oh oh! How is Gretel going to get out of this? See if you can hear how the music tells the excitement in its mood and rhythm. What are the kids going to do next?

Act 3 Scene 7 / THE OVEN

Gretel: I am so dumb, don’t have a brain,

You’ll have to show me how to open the oven!

Witch: Do it right now, I’ll show you how! Hehehehe!


Hansel and Gretel: And with one swift push, clang! The door locks, bang!

You’re cooked up like gingerbread, you’re very dead!

(Listening and Learning) Hansel and Gretel have killed the Witch! What would you expect in the music? Listen for the happiness and relief.

Act 3 Scene 8 / HURRAH!

Hansel and Gretel: Hurrah! Now the ugly witch is gone, really gone,

From dusk to dawn.

Hurrah! Now the ugly witch is still, mouse-like still,

We’ll eat cake to fill!

Now the evil time is gone, witch’s brew, the spell is gone!

(Listening and Learning) Another surprise is coming! Listen for the next melody. It is the theme you heard first in the overture.

Act 3 Scene 9 / REUNION

Hansel: Papa, mama!

Gretel: Mama, papa!

Mother: Little ones!

Father: Thank heaven we’ve found you safe at last!

(Listening and Learning) Fantastic! The show was a huge success! All that’s left is for your singers to take their bows.


(Listening and Learning): Now that the show is over, let’s take a look at how it all happened.
Let’s go Backstage!

Hansel and Gretel: Learning About Opera Text and Libretto Page of

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