Courtesy, NOOA

A Tale That's Stood the Test of Time: Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel

13:00 November 21, 2022
By: Kimmie Tubré

From Grimm's fairy tale to the Opera, Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel hit the Mahalia Jackson Theater stage as an age-old classic with a modern flair. After opening this 80th season with a dynamic performance of Rossini's The Barber of Seville, New Orleans Opera Association (NOOA) did it again with another amazingly entertaining performance. Performed in English, Hansel and Gretel was a delightful production for both adults and kids. From the beautiful voices of the fun loving siblings to the Witch who plotted against them, this operatic fairy tale was a wonderful family friendly experience.

Courtesy, NOOA

The Story

Hansel and Gretel is an age-old fairy tale about a set of poor siblings who venture into the woods in search of food. Hansel (Emily Fons), the boy of the family, seems to be the younger of the two as he is more playful and a bit more irresponsible. While Gretel (Meechot Marrero), the sister, seems to be the leader of the two. Before leaving their home in search of food, they are angrily greeted by their mother, Gertrude (Deborah Nansteel) who is slapped with disappointment from her childrens' reckless behaviors. Faced with poverty and hunger, she sends them on their way for an adventure that will surely change their lives. As they search through the woods, they are spotted and hunted by the Witch, who their father, Peter (SeungHyeon Baek) hints at in the beginning of the performance.

On their journey they are visited by the Sandman (Ashley Milanese), who gives them hopeful dreams, along with the Dew Fairy (Nicole Heinen), who wakes them. Once they stumble upon the witches home, they are distracted, yet pleasantly entertained, by the candy that it's built with. While eating the house, the Witch (Chauncey Packer) arrives, captures them with her spell, and feeds Hansel in preparation of a special feast where he is the main dish. While their destiny seems to be doomed, it is saved when Gretel releases the spell and the classic ending occurs, as they cook the Witch and release the other missing children.

The Production

Directed by E. Loren Meeker and Designed by Steven C. Kemp, this Opera production of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel was an amazing representation of the classic fairy tale that we all know and love. The set was beautifully done, enhancing its comedic nature by mixing old items with new ones. Performed at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for Performing Arts, the audience witnessed dynamic vocals and family friendly comedic performances from the amazing cast members and performers.

Next on the list:

  • Schnyder's Charlie Parker's Yardbird, January 20, 21, & 22, 2023 at the New Orleans Jazz Market

  • Puccini's Madame Butterfly, March 24 & 26, 2023

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