Engelbert Humperdinck: Königskinder

The first version of Engelbert Humperdinck’s fairy tale opera was premiered on January 23, 1897 in Munich’s Hoftheater under the musical direction of Hugo Röhr. After the success of Hänsel und Gretel four years earlier, the composer was looking for a text for a comic opera with a popular touch, which was ultimately provided by Elsa Agnes Bernstein, daughter of Humperdinck’s Munich friend Heinrich Porges.

In the years that followed, this melodrama version found its way onto the opera stages of Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Riga, London, Dublin and New York, but disappeared from the repertoire after 1902. The composer revised his melodrama into the through-composed version of the opera known today, for which the text was thoroughly reduced and simplified. Finally, in 1910, this second version was premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Photo credit: Archiv Bayerische Staatsoper / Hof-Atelier Elvira München