Culture Magazine

Opera Review: The Gingerbread Cure

By Superconductor @ppelkonen
Opera Manhattan mounts Hansel & Gretel.

Opera Review: The Gingerbread Cure

A German 10-pfennig stamp with Hansel, Gretel and the Witch.

On Tuesday night, Opera Manhattan offered a charming modest version of Engelbert Humperdinck's holiday classic Hansel und Gretel at the Acorn Theater on W. 42nd Street. It was a refreshing, traditional take on the German opera, performed in an "interactive" English translation.
Bryce Smith's company is offering a welcome alternative to the big-budget version being staged further uptown. This is Hansel on a shoestring, with music director Jennifer Peterson playing the entire score at an onstage baby grand. Well, not the entire score. The famous Overture and Witch's Ride were cut, and the opera's three acts were condensed to 80 minutes and played without a brake. 
Directed by New York City Opera veteran Beth Greenberg, this was a spare, but enchanting production. The set consisted of projected images, a small army of fake white Christmas trees and a few props. Three young opera-goers linked arms and became the gingerbread house. They were paid for their work in chocolate gelt, lollys and real gingerbread. 
Mezzo Sahoko Sato and soprano Megan Candio made an engaging, energetic pair of siblings as Hansel and Gretel. Ms. Sato brought a tomboy attitude and exaggerated mugging. Ms. Candio is a remarkably flexable dancer with a supple soprano instrument. Her choreographed moves while under the Witch's control were a welcome comic surprise. 
Heather Roberts played the Witch relatively straight, engaging in evil cackles and  vocal effects. This mezzo has an impressive range from the bottom of her chest voice all the way to the very top. In a humane touch, she was not baked into ginger-bread, but run offstage by Gretel. At the end, the Witch was pelted with "snowballs": white shower puffs thrown from the audience.
Nathan Fuhrman offered a firm, resonant presence as Peter, even with his long build-up to the Witch's Ride proving anticlimactic. This singer's deep voice offered comfort and strength in this part, especially in the opera's closing bars. As Gertrude, Korin Kormick displayed a powerful voice that may be too big for the cozy Acorn Theater. 
Elana Gleason doubled as the Sandman, and Dew Fairy, and also served as host of the performance, wrangling the kids on and off the stage and keeping the young audience members involved in the opera. In the finale (which was missing the usual chorus of children), she returned to the stage and sang the third part, filling out the harmony and helping to bring this performance to a satisfying close.
Hansel & Gretel runs through January 1. More information at the official website of Opera Manhattan.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Opera Review: A Piece of Fairy Cake

    Opera Review: Piece Fairy Cake

    Joyce DiDonato sings a radiant Cendrillon at the Met. by Paul J. Pelkonen The lighting department: Joyce DiDonata as Cinderella in Massenet's Cendrillon.Photo b... Read more

    9 hours, 43 minutes ago by   Superconductor
  • What Mother Can’t Get Her Childs Birth Date Right?

    What Mother Can’t Childs Birth Date Right?

    I haven’t blogged in about ten thousand years. Since the Earth is only around 6 thousand years old, I take full responsibility for messing up that Math for you... Read more

    11 hours, 20 minutes ago by   Rachel Rachelhagg
  • FIREFIGHTER – Seattle Fire Department (WA)

    FIREFIGHTER Seattle Fire Department (WA)

    City of Seattle Fire Department, (WA) FIREFIGHTER Salary:  $72,900.00 annually ****To reserve your spot, please sign up!**** City of Seattle Fire Dept. (WA)... Read more

    13 hours, 22 minutes ago by   Firecareers
  • Afghanistan: Once Again a Pawn Between Two World Powers

    Afghanistan: Once Again Pawn Between World Powers

    by Jon PhillipsRESTREPO chronicles the deployment of a platoon of US soldiers at one of the most dangerous outposts in Afghanistan. Read more

    The 19 April 2018 by   Rvbadalam
  • Abu Dhabi to Dubai

    Dhabi Dubai

    Most of the people who are living in the United Arab Emirates. Trying figure out how to travel between Abu Dhabi to Dubai. On the positive side, traveling... Read more

    The 19 April 2018 by   Dubai City Company
  • Video: Kilimanjaro - Mountain of Greatness Trailer

    Video: Kilimanjaro Mountain Greatness Trailer

    This video is a trailer for a full-length documentary called Kilimanjaro: Mountain of Greatness. It follows mountain bikers Hans Rey, Danny MacAskill and Gerhar... Read more

    The 19 April 2018 by   Kungfujedi
  • A Full Spectrum of Poses and Practices

    Full Spectrum Poses Practices

    by NinaOne of the reasons I started the Photo of the Day project on Facebook was because of the way older people are typically portrayed in the media: almost... Read more

    The 19 April 2018 by   Ninazolotow