Adelheid Catharina Maria Humperdinck Wette (4 September 1858 – 9 August 1916) was a German author, composer, and folklorist who is best remembered today as the librettist of her brother Engelbert Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel.
Life and career
Wette was born in Siegburg, Germany, the youngest sister of the composer Engelbert Humperdinck. Her parents were Gustav Humperdinck, a high school teacher, and Gertrud Hartmann Humperdinck, the daughter of a cantor. Adelheid was very interested in reading folktales and writing poetry. In 1881, she married Dr. Hermann Wette who shared her interest in folktales and had himself written two libretti for the composer Arnold Mendelssohn.
Every year, Adelheid Wette wrote a play for her children to perform at a family celebration. In 1888, she wrote a version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which Engelbert enhanced with some songs. In 1890, she wrote a version of Hansel and Gretel to be performed for her husband's birthday in May. In a letter to Engelbert in April, she asked him to compose music for five of her verses to use in the play: a cock-a-doodle-doo song (Lied); a dance song (Tanzlied); an echo song (Echolied); a forest song (Waldlied); and a lullaby (Schlummerlied). She included rhythmic suggestions for the dance song and suggested a melody of the lullaby. Engelbert responded with an arrangement of songs for two voices and piano. Over the next two years, with Adelheid and Hermann Wette's assistance, he expanded Hansel and Gretel into a fully-scored opera which premiered in Weimar, Germany, on 23 December 1893, and remains his best-known composition.
Wette's works include:
- Frog King (1896)
- Hansel and Gretel (libretto)
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (libretto)
- "Abends will ich schlafen gehn" [In the Evening, I Will Go to Sleep]
- Deutsches Kinderliederbuch [German Children's Songbook] (1903)
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- Wette, Adelheid 1858-1916. Hänsel und Gretel Märchenspiel in drei Bildern. Guth, Karl-Maria (1. Auflage ed.). Berlin. ISBN 978-3-8430-2005-3. OCLC 968225582.
- Fisher, Burton D. (2000-02-15). Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel. Opera Journeys Publishing. ISBN 978-1-102-00907-8.
- "Adelheid Wette". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
- Glauert, Amanda (2002). "Wette [née Humperdinck], Adelheid". Grove Music Online. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.O003525. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
- Grun, Bernard (1955). Private Lives of the Great Composers, Conductors and Musical Artistes of the World. Library Publishers.
- "Hänsel und Gretel". Schott Music. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
- "Adelheid Wette (Librettist)". StageAgent. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
- "Hänsel und Gretel (Work – Engelbert Humperdinck/Adelheid Wette)". opera-online.com. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
- "Hansel and Gretel". University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
- Cohen, Aaron I. (1987). International Encyclopedia of Women Composers (Second edition, revised and enlarged ed.). New York. ISBN 0-9617485-2-4. OCLC 16714846.[page needed]
- "Sammlung deutscher Gedichte 028". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
- "Adelheid Wette — People — Royal Opera House". www.roh.org.uk. Retrieved 2020-09-18.