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Johannes Felsenstein’s production of HANSEL AND GRETEL presents it with every sinister element removed. The children remain in a home setting with their own bed central to the scene and the barest hint of a forest behind, while their father plays the witch as an amiable, totally benevolent figure, not sinister at all, even joining them in the final joyful ensemble. When they sing that the witch is dead, you find that the production contradicts that completely. Taking that unsinister stance means that the opera loses much of its bite. No doubt Felsenstein felt that it would make the piece more accessible for very young children, though many of them relish the sinister element. That said, it is a strong and capable performance, very well conducted and with a cast of good if not outstanding singers. One wonders what Felsenstein meant to convey, just as it is not clear why the central characters should regularly be carrying dolls. A highly individual version of a much-loved opera.