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Witch


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1 (Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel). Mez. Lives in the Ilsenstein forest to which she tempts young children with gingerbread. She catches them and bakes them alive in her oven and turns them into gingerbread. She is pushed into her own oven by Gretel and herself turned into gingerbread. Created by Hermine Finck (a future wife of the composer Eugen d'Albert).

2 (Verdi: Macbeth). Spoken. Three witches who hail Macbeth as Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland: he and his wife set about making sure their prophecy comes true. They also warn him to beware of Macduff (who eventually kills him), that Banquo's descendants will become kings (thus sealing his and their fate—they must be killed), that he need fear nothing from man ‘born of woman’ (on the battlefield Macduff tells Macbeth how he was ‘ripped untimely’ from his mother's womb, i.e. not born naturally), and that he will be safe until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane (which it appears to do when the troops in the forest, advancing against him, are camouflaged by branches from the trees). Creators (1847) not known.

Subjects: Opera.


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