From the pen of Engelbert Humperdinck, the Wagnerian fairy tale Königskinder is stranger and more elaborate than his prior smash Hänsel und Gretel. This invented romance of “Royal Children” was but the second opera to receive its world premiere at the Met, preceded only by Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West less than three weeks before. Audiences were enthralled; from 1910 to 1914 it chalked up an impressive 39 performances (a statistic Puccini’s spaghetti Western did not achieve until 1931). Though the Met has never revived it since, the banner image of the Met’s online archive, since it went live, has been Geraldine Farrar, prima donna and movie star, as the ill-starred Goosegirl tending her gaggle on a field of daisies. In our time, Jonas Kaufmann championed the score with ardor; his King’s Son survives on a video from Zurich. If only the Met would mount an overdue revival for this treasured artist, honoring the company’s history into the bargain. The cast in Austria’s Second City boasts no marquee names, but let’s not take lightly the opportunity to see the piece at all. —M.G.
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